The Instant Pot Will Not Solve All of Life’s Problems
January 11, 2019 8:00 AM   Subscribe

While the Instant Pot might be the most sophisticated fix yet for Americans’ dwindling opportunity to prepare their own food, it can’t address the bigger problem of where that time and skill went in the first place, and how much more stands to be lost (SLTheAtlantic).

Even if American moms have achieved maximum productivity, the forces that require them to life-hack ever more clever ways to spend less time caring for themselves are still at work. Over the past 50 years, kitchen-gadget trends have come and gone, but their appeal in the United States has always been predicated on negotiating the expectations placed on women’s time and energy, starting with the Crock-Pot’s enormous popularity in the 1970s. Shifting cooking’s burden of vigilance off a person and onto a machine wasn’t necessary when women were largely relegated to the home during the day, but as more of them sought employment, work-arounds became necessary. Women were still expected to be the project managers of their households.

...if the Instant Pot is a good compromise between being overburdened at work and wanting to cook with fresh ingredients, it’s still a compromise. It doesn’t address the fact that work has seeped into an ever-larger portion of Americans’ waking hours, taking time and energy away from the basic tasks of familial maintenance, or that a lot of people would rather have a little more time to take care of their families or a more helpful spouse instead of another gadget to do it for them.

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posted by devrim (227 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
 
Or it is one device that takes the place of several and thus a space and money saver? I read this article a few days ago and it made me ragey.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:15 AM on January 11 [49 favorites]


Yeah, I got an instant pot for Christmas because I use my slow cooker a lot and something that combined the functions of a slow cooker with a pressure cooker seemed like a good deal for my very tiny apartment kitchen.
posted by tavella at 8:19 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


Blaming the Instant Pot for not solving all of modern capitalism’s ills sort of misses the forest through the trees.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:22 AM on January 11 [89 favorites]


Of course the key to anything is that you’re doing it wrong.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:23 AM on January 11 [64 favorites]


While the Instant Pot might be the most sophisticated fix yet for Americans’ dwindling opportunity to prepare their own food, it can’t address the bigger problem of where that time and skill went in the first place, and how much more stands to be lost.

Do care about the time, don't care at all about the skill.

This article should decide what it is decrying - women not having any fucking time anymore, or women trying to find ways to get around the sheer drudgery of standing in a kitchen for hours a days, preparing multiple meals.
posted by Squeak Attack at 8:24 AM on January 11 [46 favorites]


You're playing right into the hands of the Big Pressure lobby, man... wood fire or nothing, I say
posted by starman at 8:24 AM on January 11 [13 favorites]


Of course the key to anything is that you’re women are doing it wrong.

Let's not forget who is really to blame here. Especially since men are biologically incapable of food preparation.
posted by medusa at 8:29 AM on January 11 [47 favorites]


I'd never heard of these, and I'm a big fan of 'walk away and leave it' slow cookers, so this sounds amazing. Thanks Metafilter!
posted by memebake at 8:30 AM on January 11 [13 favorites]


Working title: "I bought an instant pot and it didn't save my family: why did feminism lie to me!?"
posted by the agents of KAOS at 8:33 AM on January 11 [54 favorites]


So I don't particularly like wet food...stews and such...or casseroles. but this just triggered me to google a little and it looks like one can make "dry food" (as in not wet, not as in overcooked and leathery, though I imagine it makes that too) and non-casseroles in an instant pot? Is the correct?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:33 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I kind of wonder if somewhere in this article there's an affiliate link to instant pot, because I suspect this article is going to sell a lot of instant pots.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:34 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


I mean yes, women are still saddled with a large proportion of the household work.

BUT as a separate point, I really just want to make dishes that involve braising without spending 3-4hrs to get the right flavor and consistency. I used to have to spend a good portion of the afternoon at home during the weekend tending to a dish (stirring, adding more water or broth) to get the dish the way that I wanted it! I've adapted all my braised dishes now to the Instant Pot, and it's saved me so much time -- I can now make a meal like Chinese Garlic Black Bean Spare Ribs after I get back from work and eat it the same night! Slow cookers don't work for braising, but the Instant Pot works so well for it.
posted by extramundane at 8:34 AM on January 11 [12 favorites]


My husband uses the instant pot just as much as I do. Are we doing this wrong?
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:38 AM on January 11 [21 favorites]


Well, I definitely fall into the millennial who doesn't want to feed her family processed food and feels like the instant pot helps get homemade food on the table. The ability the leave it unattended is definitely the best feature.

In some ways though I feel like it's actually saving me money, not time. It makes it easy enough to make yogurt and chicken broth that I feel obligated to do it myself for a quarter of the price of just buying it. but it would be much faster just to pay $5 for a tub of whole milk yogurt. However, the ability to sterilize baby bottles and pump parts in it is priceless, if you happen to need to do that.
posted by carolr at 8:39 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


...success requires carefully following a good recipe.

Well, that answers my question about whether I should get one: nope. I'm terrible at following a recipe, let along carefully following one. I prefer to throw many things into a big pot and see what happens. Sometimes it's awesome. Sometimes ... not so much, but my family will usually eat it, because they are hungry.

I did try one of those meal-prep services once (where they send you a package with all the ingredients and the recipe), as a family member had one package they couldn't use. It was (relatively) easy-to-make and tasted delicious -- much better than anything I could have made up. But we're too cheap and too environmentally conscious (so much plastic packaging!) to ever get a service like that for ourselves.

So my family will continue to eat stodgy, not especially good tasting food. We use lots of legumes, so it's healthy, if repetitive. Nice food is for when someone else invites us for dinner.
posted by jb at 8:42 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


soren_lorensen: "My husband uses the instant pot just as much as I do. Are we doing this wrong?"

Sitting or standing?
posted by chavenet at 8:45 AM on January 11 [43 favorites]


This article seems to be overthinking an automatic pot of beans. I mean I like our Instant Pot and I made a very tasty beef stew in it last night but it's only slightly more convenient than cooking in a pot on the stovetop. I didn't know that it was supposed to effect social changes while it was pressure cooking stew.
posted by octothorpe at 8:46 AM on January 11 [11 favorites]


I don't think it's entirely fair.
Still, it’s not great that the need to make chili in a half hour is so widespread that millions of people are willing to shell out a hundred bucks for the ability to do some version of it several times a week.
The need to MAKE DINNER in half an hour (given constraints like work hours and bedtime) is widespread. Chili works well (I assume) in the instant pot, and, as the article notes, the use of this is not active work time.

Yeah, this is not going to solve any problems except the very specific one of needing to tend your meal as you cook it. But if you don't enjoy tending your food -- as indeed I do not -- this solves that one perfectly well. (It also made a really fantastic cheesecake, I always find the water bath so fiddly.)

I'm not sure what the goal of the article was. I guess clickbait.
posted by jeather at 8:47 AM on January 11 [21 favorites]


While the Instant Pot might be the most sophisticated fix yet for Americans’ dwindling opportunity to prepare their own food,

The $1,500 Thermomix would like a word.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 8:47 AM on January 11 [11 favorites]


jb I actually rarely use recipes with my IP (well, I have an IP knock off). I use it mostly to prepare basic staples not the one-pot family dinner recipes you hear so much about on the internet. If you eat a lot of beans, an electric pressure cooker with a timer is such a time/mental energy saver. I can put dried beans in the pot with water in the morning, set the timer for them to start pressure cooking 8 hours hence, and when I get home I have a big pot of cooked beans ready for me to do whatever else I was going to do with them. Same with rice (make it in the AM, keep it warm all day), potatoes (instant pot mashed potatoes are actually superior to traditional methods), yogurt, etc...
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:47 AM on January 11 [11 favorites]


Still, it’s not great that the need to make chili in a half hour is so widespread that millions of people are willing to shell out a hundred bucks for the ability to do some version of it several times a week.

I mean, it doesn't cost a hundred bucks each time.

Reading this was like listening to Marxist-Leninists tediously bang on about "false consciousness."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:48 AM on January 11 [20 favorites]


jb: I disagree with that article saying you have to carefully follow a recipe. You can throw things into the instant pot and see what happens. Only need to follow a recipe if you're looking for a very specific or consistent outcome, which it sounds like you are not.

I have not personally done it but I've heard you can make beans really quickly in an instant pot. Like, what would have taken hours takes an hour or less.
posted by zompus at 8:48 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


We got an instant pot for Christmas from my parents. My wife was excited because she wants to make yogurt, and natto (fermented soy beans; my kids, and many other kids in Japan, love natto).

I thought it might save time making dinner but on doing some research, the Instant Pot often takes the same time or a little longer to cook meals (my responsibility) on the stove.

So... meh.
posted by JamesBay at 8:53 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


jb, I would like to vehemently agree with everyone else who is saying that you can make basically any one pot meal more quickly and easily in an instant pot. Especially beans. No need to overthink this.
posted by ambrosen at 8:53 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


I am sick of the Instant Pot craze. All my favorite recipe sites are now obsessed with it, probably because those bloggers got one for free to promote. Specialized cooking equipment is not how I roll.
posted by agregoli at 8:54 AM on January 11 [19 favorites]


I used my instant pot (xmas gift) to make pork carnitas for Sunday dinner. They were delicious. I expect it can also do corned beef in a fraction of the time stovetop cooking takes. And pulled pork. And render dried kidney beans into ready-for-chili. I am excited.

Am I allowed to instant pot if I'm not married? Like, no husband or kids will benefit from my use of it. My divorced and kidowed (kid died, not husband died) friend benefits. And her mother, sometimes. Does that count?
posted by which_chick at 8:56 AM on January 11 [9 favorites]


So,...uh...I'm suddenly wondering if I need an instant pot, because it looks like it doesn't just do stews!

Question: I usually cook for myself and eat after baby goes to bed around 8 (so i end up either eating chips for dinner at 8 or eating food at 10, neither ideal). Could I, in theory, prep food starting at 8. Put the pot (I assume there's a liner pot) in the fridge over night, and then put it in the instant pot and set the timer in the morning and come home to eat with baby at 6ish? Is that a thing that is possible with this thing?

I know something similar is possible with a slow cooker and i have a slow cooker, but that really only makes wet stuff.

Also, if you make rice or oatmeal in this thing, does it form a film/stick/burnt layer around edges of the pot or does *all* the rice/oatmeal come out in non-sheet-stuck-together-form?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:57 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


jb, I would like to vehemently agree with everyone else who is saying that you can make basically any one pot meal more quickly and easily in an instant pot. Especially beans.

Could you... could you put them on a plate?
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:58 AM on January 11 [16 favorites]


soren_lorensen: "potatoes (instant pot mashed potatoes are actually superior to traditional methods)"

This. Plus as someone who gets easily distracted I never have to worry about the IP boiling over or something.

JamesBay: "
I thought it might save time making dinner but on doing some research, the Instant Pot often takes the same time or a little longer to cook meals (my responsibility) on the stove.
"

Even then, the fact that one doesn't have to monitor the pot the whole time it's working (because of the timer) makes it a superior method IMO for a lot of things.
posted by Mitheral at 9:02 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I can see given the hype and fad it's easy to assume the IP is a silly gizmo/gimmick, but I should pretty much just buy a t-shirt that says "really, the instant pot is just an electric pressure cooker" at this point.
posted by ominous_paws at 9:03 AM on January 11 [13 favorites]


Over Christmas, my mom showed me how to cook a pork loin in her mom's old pressure cooker. Those old things are amazing pieces of technology and gigantic pains in the ass, which have to be monitored regularly lest they blow a literal gasket and geyser your ceiling with gravy.

The loin was great though. Made me want to get an Instant Pot so I could make the same dish without fear of pressure-driven projectiles.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:04 AM on January 11 [17 favorites]


> it looks like one can make "dry food" (as in not wet, not as in overcooked and leathery, though I imagine it makes that too) and non-casseroles in an instant pot? Is the correct?

I'd guess 99% of what you'll find for these pressure cookers is casserolly/wet food. I'm sure someone will find counterexamples, but. I use them for cooking ribs without sauce, for example, which replaces the "bake low and slow, wrapped in foil" portion of traditional oven ribs, but I still need to run them under the broiler or on the grill for 1/2 an hour to get a nice finish.

However, the big advantage the pressure pots have over crockpots is that "overcooked and leathery" food doesn't result if used correctly. This was the big problem with crockpots---they had no moisture control, so food dried out as it cooked. The pressure cookers don't lose water, preventing that awful bark from forming, and they have limited cook cycles, with a lower temperature keep warm. This greatly reduces overcooking too.
posted by bonehead at 9:04 AM on January 11 [8 favorites]


Both of my grandmothers had pressure cookers that were in near constant use. This is the same thing, but it's electric and there's less worry (for me anyway) of anything going boom. I love mine and I have used a lot more lentils and beans since buying it since nothing comes out of that thing al dente.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:05 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


it can’t address the bigger problem of where that time and skill went in the first place, and how much more stands to be lost

I agree the loss of time is important and enthusiastically await the end of capitalism, but nobody's obligated to maintain the skills. They're just not.

This article does get one thing very right: the true advantage of an electric pressure cooker is that you can walk away. Yes you can make these things in other ways, sometimes in the same amount of time or even less, but you have to stand there. You have to do steps or you have to stir or you have to watch it so it doesn't burn. And you can, if you want, do recipes like that in the EPC too, there's lots of things you can make with all kinds of timing tricks and opening and reclosing and all that, if you're wanting to do that in the moment. But being able to bulk cook proteins, make basic curry-ish things (again, in bulk if I want, for meal prep), boil eggs (3m on high, forget they're in there, take them out an hour later, still barely a green ring), it makes those things possible.

And a useful thing to note: there are many electric pressure cookers, but right now none of the have the customer service reputation of Instant Pot, hands down. My original DUO started doing a freaky thing after 2.5 years (note: unplug your EPC when not in use, for real) and I opened a ticket, sent a video of it doing the thing, and I had a new current-generation DUO in my hands within 36 hours, with instructions that I could re-use my ring and inner pot and take the lid/body to my local electronics recycler. That's why this specific brand endures.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:06 AM on January 11 [25 favorites]


So for Christmas my wife got a cheque from her mother which her mother said must be spent on "you know that appliance that makes things cook quickly and fries with oxygen". So we had no idea what she was talking about but after questioning her we determined that she was likely talking about an air fryer that she saw advertised during one of her shows (which for an air fryer was kind of expensive and the cheque was made in that amount with taxes). While that was funny in and of itself because Air Fryer > Instapot in my mother-inlaw's eyes but funnier still is that my wife doesn't cook. Well that is not entirely true - she made Rice Krispie Squares the other day. All management of the household food production lies in my hands and generally speaking I am dubious of most small appliances. We put the money towards repairing the roof instead.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:08 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


The big innovations over the traditional stovetop ones are:

- All the safety features are one and done. You generally don't need to worry too much about them or fuss about valves. The major danger is filling too much.

- The thing runs on a cook program. This is what makes it "brainless" to use. You select "rice" or "stew" or "beans" and that's it. It cooks until done, then keeps warm.
posted by bonehead at 9:08 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I've spent ten minutes trying to write the perfect joke about how of course modern life is riddled with crappy compromises... real wages go down every year and the middle class is being systematically dismantled and the only way not to drown is to work work work WORK and employers don't even care that grinding people into paste as long as shareholder value goes up. But I just lost my job, and now I need to work on my resume and find another job. So I can't even do gallows humor about this shit right now.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:09 AM on January 11 [22 favorites]


Before I clicked through to read the article, I was thinking "I bet the answer is capitalism", and hey, what do you know: it's our old friend late stage capitalism, eating your free time and taking your food.

Also, in terms of cooking dried beans in a pressure pot: don't do it. Yeah, YOU CAN do it, but it basically turns the beans into fart pills because it doesn't wash out the stuff inside the beans that make you fart. Soaking gives far better beans, which actually don't make you fart that much (ymmv) if you are used to them in your diet. I mean, sure, just wang some beans in your pot if you want your children and spouse to fart all night and hate beans, that's fine
posted by The River Ivel at 9:09 AM on January 11 [15 favorites]


I'm not sure whether it's dry food in the sense being looked for, but you can make hard-steamed eggs in an instant pot, and it's easier to get the shells off. You can also use any sort of a steamer.

More generally, nobody said said instant pots would solve the problems of being overworked.

Sometimes I think a lot of stupid articles are a result of an overburdened and underideaed writer looking for a topic, and the easiest topic is to make up something to complain about.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 9:12 AM on January 11 [9 favorites]


I used an electric pressure cooker for a couple of years. It was a great way to learn about pressure cooking. A few months ago, I bought a stove-top pressure cooker because I wanted more control. I don't find that it requires that much attention. I have to turn down the heat when it reaches pressure, which means I have to hang around for about five minutes. I have the cooker on an induction burner that has a timer, so it will shut off by itself. I will always be fond of my electric cooker, but it is now stored in the garage. Modern stove-top pressure cookers have all the safety features that electric models have.
posted by No Robots at 9:12 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


I'd never heard of these, and I'm a big fan of 'walk away and leave it' slow cookers, so this sounds amazing.

I find that the slow cooker function on the Instant Pot isn't quite as good as an actual slow cooker. I was given an Instant Pot as a gift a year ago, but still kept my slow cooker for its original use.

However, I also kept the Instant Pot (and I was on the verge of returning it at first) because trufax, I have never successfully made beans until I tried it with this. they were always too firm no matter how long I cooked them. But the first batch of beans I did in the Instant pot were perfect, and only took 20 minutes - and that's including the time it took for them to come up to the right pressure.

I'm going to be doing a couple soup stocks in it this weekend as well (found a recipe for close-enough tonkatsu broth that you don't have to boil for 24 straight hours, you can just pressure-cook for 3 hours; this is more what I can do).

Also, in terms of cooking dried beans in a pressure pot: don't do it. Yeah, YOU CAN do it, but it basically turns the beans into fart pills because it doesn't wash out the stuff inside the beans that make you fart. Soaking gives far better beans, which actually don't make you fart that much (ymmv) if you are used to them in your diet.

Er....I do both. Pre-soak beans, and then use the Instant Pot for the cooking. Best of both worlds. Especially if you pre-soak them in the manner that a Greek playwright taught me - bring them to a boil, boil the hell out of them for a couple minutes, and then turn off the heat and let soak for an hour or two. Drain, rinse, and then start cooking. (The playwright specifically said of this method that "it gets rid of the farts.")
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:12 AM on January 11 [40 favorites]


Over Christmas, my mom showed me how to cook a pork loin in her mom's old pressure cooker. Those old things are amazing pieces of technology and gigantic pains in the ass, which have to be monitored regularly lest they blow a literal gasket and geyser your ceiling with gravy.

The loin was great though. Made me want to get an Instant Pot so I could make the same dish without fear of pressure-driven projectiles.


Heh. My maternal grandmother found another way to weaponize a pressure cooker: using it to cook vegetables while measuring the cooking time in geological periods, thus rendering them into an undifferentiated, greyish paste. I have childhood memories of spitting out the vegetables into napkins and smuggling them back to the kitchen garbage. And I liked vegetables as a kid - just not...those ones, and it was hard to tell what particular vegetables they once were because they had all become one uniform bolus of sadness.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:14 AM on January 11 [15 favorites]


Er....I do both. Pre-soak beans, and then use the Instant Pot for the cooking. Best of both worlds. Especially if you pre-soak them in the manner that a Greek playwright taught me - bring them to a boil, boil the hell out of them for a couple minutes, and then turn off the heat and let soak for an hour or two. Drain, rinse, and then start cooking. (The playwright specifically said of this method that "it gets rid of the farts.")

Yes! This is the best way. Quick and mostly fartless.
posted by The River Ivel at 9:16 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


Instant pots, much like slow cookers, seem like great solutions to something that isn't a problem for me. I really enjoy having something slowly bubbling on the stove or in the oven on an afternoon while I do other chores around the house. And since I usually am only cooking for 1 or 2, I have plenty of quick recipes and/or leftovers to cover the many days I don't have time for long cooking recipes. So, for me personally, the popularity of instant pot recipes mainly means seeing something tasty on a blog and having to reverse engineer it for cooking without an instant pot. I like cooking and have time to do this, so that's a minor annoyance. I am glad so many people like their electric pressure cookers; I love the things that solve a problem for me!

It does seem weird to complain about instant pots on the grounds that they don't actually manufacture more time for people. I, too, would like a device that does that, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect a pressure cooker to be that device, anymore than any other kitchen gadget.
posted by the primroses were over at 9:17 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


Because the original equipment "stove" in our condo is so shitty and dangerous, we unplugged it, put a cutting board on top, and use the IP for everything the toaster oven and microwave won't do. Hell, my daughter cooks pasta in it; just use the sauté setting on high. Get one of those metal flower-shaped steamer baskets and you can do even more neat stuff. I wouldn't try to cook a burger in it, but we sure do throw five pounds of ground beef in and brown it up for quick meals later. To say nothing about every other god damn thing it does. Like candy. I make candy in it. And it's much more efficient than cooking on a stove, because the body of the appliance is insulated.

Anyone bitching about the IP is some kind of troll looking for clicks.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:18 AM on January 11 [15 favorites]


geyser your ceiling with gravy.

Just FYI you can do this in an Instant Pot as well. Ask me how I know this.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:19 AM on January 11 [21 favorites]


Man I used my pressure cooker last night to make rice (stovetop not instantpot to be fair) and it meant I could serve dinner now to my hungry/sick partner and not have to wait 20+ minutes for the rice to be done. Rice takes 4 minutes! It's awesome.

I am confused though by how long recipes for the instant pot seem to say it'll take to depressurize. On the stove it's 3 minutes tops, the recipes for the instant pot all seem to say it'll take at least 10 minutes to naturally depressurize which seems odd to me.
posted by Carillon at 9:19 AM on January 11


Carillon, the longer wait to depressurise for the IP is because the machine is insulated for efficiency. You can pop off a little steam now and then to hurry it along, though.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:20 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I join the people who are sick of hearing about this stupid device, and I join the people who think it's sad—and harmful, in several different ways—how many Americans can't "cook" (in the sense that most of us define that term). But I'll acknowledge that's a bit unfair of me because if there's any science-fiction technology that I'd like to see in real life, it's the Star Trek food replicator. Tell the device what you want to eat, and that food instantly materializes. The world will be better when those pesky Scientists™ stop playing around and just invent the damn thing. So if I'm in such a hurry for that, then what do I care if most Americans are suddenly smitten with some Ron Popeil gimmick?
posted by cribcage at 9:21 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


The need to MAKE DINNER in half an hour (given constraints like work hours and bedtime) is widespread.

I haven't read the full article itself yet, but the part in the pull quote is saying that this - and the fact that American's time for basic life maintenance tasks as well as free time is increasingly being squeezed down - is the fundamental problem. I can see where the emphasis on the instant pot itself comes across negatively. But, think of it this way: suppose someone marketed self-driving cars in Saudi Arabia of five years ago as a revolutionary device that expanded women's freedom - women can go out without driving themselves but also without a husband or make relative! It's revolutionary! Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia of five years ago it's still illegal for women to drive. Or women's-only shopping centres or sporting events or such. The hype around the "fix" in each cases kind of misses the point of the more fundamental injustice.

So, on my social media, I don't see a whole lot about instant pots, but when I do it is, in fact, predominantly focused on how amazing the time savings is, not because the people posting about their instant pots don't enjoy cooking when they have time (making recipes more accessible to people who simply don't enjoy spending lots of time cooking is a good thing!), but because they don't have time to cook healthy food given job and commuting time constraints. All of these people on my personal social media think that the instant pot is so great, and don't complain about why they have so little time for cooking and self care and life maintenance in the first place. There's some overlap with posting "The Secret" style sayings with annoying frequency, I've noticed. In other words, there's a section of the market for Instant Pot of people who only see their problems or challenges as individual rather than communal, who think that their failures are due to not trying hard enough, or having positive enough thoughts, or using the right "life hacks". Perhaps this article is for them? I will go read it now, to find out.
posted by eviemath at 9:21 AM on January 11 [26 favorites]


On the commercial side, I had some experience with a Smokaroma. It could cook AND SMOKE 50 lbs of fall-apart brisket in less than an hour. Pressure cooking is quite efficient...
posted by jim in austin at 9:21 AM on January 11


For fuck’s sake, it’s a pressure cooker that lets you sautee and curry stuff in the same pot prior to closing the lid. It’s fine.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:25 AM on January 11 [44 favorites]


Twenty years ago, I figured out how to make homemade butter. It's ridiculously easy. You apply a beater to cream for several minutes. It also is delicious. I met my friend's 90-year-old grandmother, and ranted about how mechanization is the root of all evil, we've totally lost our humanity, etc. etc. etc. She just looked at me stonily and said "when they came out with store-bought butter, we were THRILLED to have one less thing to do."
posted by Melismata at 9:26 AM on January 11 [94 favorites]


I'll go a little further and say the InstantPot is a really great tool. You can make a wide range of meals quickly in a short period of time and meld flavors just like you can with slower cooking. Plus, the InstantPot is not finicky. More importantly, it won't explode like a pressure cooker can.

It wont' improve your cooking, because it's a tool. No tool will improve your cooking on its own. You need to learn how to use it. It does though give you the ability to cook many Indian and Asian dishes, I would argue, properly, really allowing flavors to meld, in a 40 minute time window rather than a 2 hour time window.

If you want to make good Indian or Asian food you're much better off looking at how the dishes are made in a InstantPot than reading almost any cookbook oriented toward Americans in the last 50 years, where almost every aspect of the dish has been tricked out to try and accomplish in 5 minutes flavor wise what really needs 40 minutes.

If you're really wondering what technology deprived people of the ability to cook, that would written recipes with step by step instructions and times. Cooking slavishly from a written recipe is very much like painting by numbers with crayons whose colors may or may not match what the author had in mind. You can never become a good painter by painting by number, and you will never become a good cook by slavishly following recipes.
posted by xammerboy at 9:30 AM on January 11 [13 favorites]


More generally, nobody said said instant pots would solve the problems of being overworked.

I've seen people claim this.
posted by eviemath at 9:32 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Question: I usually cook for myself and eat after baby goes to bed around 8 (so i end up either eating chips for dinner at 8 or eating food at 10, neither ideal). Could I, in theory, prep food starting at 8. Put the pot (I assume there's a liner pot) in the fridge over night, and then put it in the instant pot and set the timer in the morning and come home to eat with baby at 6ish? Is that a thing that is possible with this thing?

Yes, it is extremely possible with this thing! We used to do the same back when we had a baby/toddler who needed constant minding. Now with an older kid who is doing his homework while one of us cooks dinner, we don't use it this way anymore.


Also: Instant Pots and Instant-Pot-Alikes are extremely popular amongst Indian-Americans and in India, and there is definitely a reason for that. I made palak paneer in mine (not saving you much over stovetop time-wise but I was making it for a work potluck, so the built-in stay-warm function was key) and it was dynamite.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:33 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


I am confused though by how long recipes for the instant pot seem to say it'll take to depressurize. On the stove it's 3 minutes tops, the recipes for the instant pot all seem to say it'll take at least 10 minutes to naturally depressurize which seems odd to me.

The IP looks to be very well insulated which seems to cause the increased release times. They recommend putting a cold wet towel on the lid to help cool it down quicker.

That said, all these "IP is so quick!" people and recipes never mention that it takes a loooonnng time to get up to pressure, way slower than using flame heat. The IP is around 1000 Watts which is nice but doesn't compare to a real stovetop.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:34 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


More importantly, it won't explode like a pressure cooker can.

While this is true of old style pressure cookers, modern stove top pressure cookers are really very safe and not prone to exploding randomly.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:36 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


I join the people who think it's sad—and harmful, in several different ways—how many Americans can't "cook" (in the sense that most of us define that term).

Well, I don't know how you define the term, or what you think you know about the rest of us, but if you're making carnitas, or cheesecake, or herb roasted potatoes, or beef stew in an Instant Pot, you are damn well cooking or "cooking" or whatever.
posted by Squeak Attack at 9:38 AM on January 11 [24 favorites]


I got an InstantPot because I absolutely love cooking, and being able to have dal in a matter of minutes while I make rice in the rice cooker and roast some veggies is great. The texture you get on dal with this thing is perfection. The function of this thing with beans is awesome, and so are soup, risotto, anything you can make with it. I also love it because sometimes I can't stand up for very long due to RA and the only way for me to make something like risotto that normally needs constant stirring for an hour or more is with the InstantPot. I do also have at least one cookbook that's all rice cooker recipes. I may try to figure out if I can do biryani in this thing.

I think the message of the article is both that late-stage capitalism is a nightmare and that this situation would improve for a lot of women if men stepped up to take on housework rather than just assuming that their personal time is more valuable.
posted by bile and syntax at 9:41 AM on January 11 [16 favorites]


Could I, in theory, prep food starting at 8. Put the pot (I assume there's a liner pot) in the fridge over night, and then put it in the instant pot and set the timer in the morning and come home to eat with baby at 6ish? Is that a thing that is possible with this thing?

You can; it has a 10-hour Keep Warm function that in repeated tests is pretty reliable to stay just over 140 degrees. (There is a delay start function, but nobody uses it because of the obvious problem. I might personally feel okay putting frozen ingredients in on a 4 or 6 hour delay, but I would not want to feed that to a guest or hypothetical child.)

You can also meal prep into containers to keep in the fridge and/or freezer ("instant pot freezer meals" is your search term, and if you have pretty much any dietary restrictions add that to your search string) and plunk in as soon as you walk in the door, and even a frozen one (takes longer to come to pressure, but you set it for the same amount of cooking time as fresh/thawed) should be ready to eat in an hour at the longest. I have about five go-to freezer meal recipes that make two gallon baggies of 5-7ish servings (assuming it's going with a side of microwave veggies or rice cooker rice) that are simple, they're not going to win any culinary awards, but are very fine for work lunches and weeknight dinners, and easy enough for my executive-function-hampered partner to do all the assembly work on. One of us can usually manage to get it into the pot, cook it, eat some, and get the rest into containers for lunches.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:44 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


Also: Instant Pots and Instant-Pot-Alikes are extremely popular amongst Indian-Americans and in India, and there is definitely a reason for that. I made palak paneer in mine (not saving you much over stovetop time-wise but I was making it for a work potluck, so the built-in stay-warm function was key) and it was dynamite.

So as a result there's a huge, huge variety of well-tested recipes for various regional indian dishes for the instant-pot - everyone I know who uses one makes Indian recipes at least half the time whether they have family connections to India or not.

I mean, the instant pot obviously contains multitudes, so to speak. It wouldn't be such a big success if it didn't meet a lot of needs at once - it's not contradictory to talk about worthwhile convenience, gendered labor, the intrusion of labor into leisure, rhetorics of self-care and world-wide use of instant-pot-alikes.

~~
TBH, I think that in the US the instant pot really illustrates how the future arrives - to wit, badly and unfairly. I do not have an instant pot, but I know many many people who have them and use them, and I have eaten many an instant-potted dish, and it's amazing. It really seems like the future (obviously it's not the future if you've been using one or a similar device forever). It's an obvious improvement in cooking options, something as brilliant and useful as a microwave, blender or toaster. At the same time, it's also coming into the market as a cure-all for lack of time, money and fresh food options. So in a way it's amazing, in a way it's just a faster method so that working people can ever more precariously reproduce their labor power.

(I mean, I anticipate acquiring one, because they are one of the very few kitchen devices that really do work as it says on the tin.)
posted by Frowner at 9:45 AM on January 11 [12 favorites]


Like, I would expect the utopian future to arrive in a "we all have instant pots so we can eat delicious dishes and spend our leisure time debating, creating art and caring for each other" way rather than "we all have instant pots so we can eat delicious dishes in our rapidly diminishing non-work time".
posted by Frowner at 9:47 AM on January 11 [23 favorites]


The IP changed how my family eats. It has made us all (including a kid) better cooks. We eat far higher quality and tastier food. We have almost no precooked meals anymore. We go out to eat less. We try new things. We save money on stuff like yogurt that we make at home.
It hasn't been a miracle but it has changed our lives for the better.
posted by k8t at 9:49 AM on January 11 [10 favorites]


I don't use the instant pot nearly as much as my wife does even though lately I make the majority of the dinners. Part of it is that even though we've had a gas stove for 6.5 years, I'm still *so thrilled* to have a gas, instead of electric stove, that I resent any form of electric cooking (excluding my waffle maker).

Another part is that I resent the instant pot for not being instant. Cooks perfect pasta in X minutes. Where X minutes is after it's slowly come to pressure (I haven't timed this, but it's Too Long (tm)). And X minutes after waiting the 2-3 minutes for the pressure to escape. Oh, and after the time the TV and wall got coated in butter steam (it sounds like JoeZydeco had it worse), one has to set a solid surface on the stove, switch on the exhaust fan and release the instant pot under there.

Yes, the pasta that comes out is a great and consistent texture. And I love when my wife makes a perfect batch of hard boiled eggs. But I still don't like our instant pot. Sorry, instant pots, plural. I guess the last part, is that just as I said "my" waffle maker up above, I consider the instant pots hers. And as such I'm afraid I'll somehow wreck them.

Some of the recipies we tag team. I'll demembrane the ribs, Ms. nobeagle will instant pot them. I'll take them out and sauce them and finish them in the oven or grill. And yeah, Ms. nobeagle points on that she's really doing very little in her part, but I have a bit of (irrational) hate for the instant pot.

Part of me also wonders how much time is really saved. Thanks to our gas fireplace, I can get water to a boil really quick. So maybe the instant pot does quinoa in 12 minutes (quick google), once it's up to pressure. I set the timer for 20 when I make it on the stove. But if I can boil water 5 minutes faster, the instant pot only saves 3 minutes. And during that time either way I'm using this time prepping the rest of the food that's going with the quinoa. Different foods/volumes will obviously be better or worse for the amount of time saved. The ribs are a big time saving, and as mentioned above, they come out great and it's only the finishing that might be sub par (no pressure (Hah)).

Yes, my giant crock pot full of stuffing takes ~5 hours to get right. But that's 5 hours of glorious sniffing the air and anticipation. And it's a giant crock pot full of stuffing; leftovers for days! For the instant pot, one needs a separate internal container to cook it in, and already our instant pots are much smaller than my crock pot. So one's getting enough that if our family of 3 is 4 due to an older son coming over for dinner we might not have leftovers. As stuffing is one of the ~4 foods that my wife likes enough that she asks for leftovers vs. me finishing everything I don't think this would go over well. Which is to say that while the instant pot lives in the kitchen, and our crockpot is stored in the basement; the instant pot will never fully replace our crock pot.

However thanks to other commenters - I will have to give the instant pot a try for mashed potatoes. However I'd be afraid for the surface of the pot to mash in there. To people mash in the instant pot pot, or do they transfer to a different pot/bowl? Sweet potatoes seems a good idea too - I need them steamed to make sweet potato pie, but the microwave gives inconsistent results, and I end up resenting the time for boiling/steaming. And as Lyn Never mentions, with the instant pot, I could walk away. I've got 4 sweet potatoes sitting in the counter mocking me for not making two pies this holiday season. And soon they'll start sprouting if I don't use them soon.
posted by nobeagle at 9:50 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


I'd be afraid for the surface of the pot to mash in there. To people mash in the instant pot pot, or do they transfer to a different pot/bowl?

There's a couple different methods people use to cook the potatoes, but when I make this, the potatoes come out so soft and already falling apart, I just use a silicon spatula and give them a good beating inside the pot and they come out on the more "home-made" side of the mashed potato smoothness spectrum. Which I actually prefer (I also do skin-on).

But I also know people who use a ricer and rice them into the pot when they're done cooking. Just don't use a stick blender. That way lies goo.
posted by soren_lorensen at 9:54 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


Specialized cooking equipment is not how I roll.

yeah, I get annoyed when a recipe requires more than one frying pan and one pot. Anything more complicated than that -- that's why restaurants, bakeries etc were invented.

As for where all the skill went. In my case, it got caught in an old cookbook of my mom's, Good Housekeeping Illustrated (1980)*, which does sometimes (too often actually) demand more than one frying pan and one pot ... but I can usually find a workaround.

* 1980's an interesting year in that it's just before Microwaves truly became a "thing". There is a twenty page supplement at the back, but in general, the focus is strictly electric (or gas) range oven and stove top.
posted by philip-random at 9:57 AM on January 11


it can’t address the bigger problem of where that time and skill went in the first place, and how much more stands to be lost

I agree the loss of time is important and enthusiastically await the end of capitalism, but nobody's obligated to maintain the skills. They're just not.


There are very few skills that have inherent moral virtue.

I look forward to the think-piece on how bad the world is because people don't make their own soap or cut their own firewood or have cellars full of tiny apples they personally harvested by hand.
posted by GuyZero at 9:58 AM on January 11 [11 favorites]


bit puzzled by the 30-min time frame. Last night I made cuban black beans (from cans) with scratch chopped garlic, onion, green pepper and ham sauteed in the same pot; non-instant rice, and onion-garlic-soy sauteed chicken thighs (from frozen, starting with frozen chicken in the sizzling pan) in about 30 minutes. I had to keep all the dishes going simultaneously and I was moving quickly the whole time, but 30 minutes is about my average prep-cook time. I've been our household's primary cook for years and probably have the benefit of that experience, but cooking itself is not inherently time-consuming. Acquiring the skills as an adult to, say, know when to turn a pan down after sufficient initial caramelization if you did not receive them as a child I can certainly see as time-consuming.

Not that there's anything wrong with using an instant pot or a zojirushi. I just don't really see the time savings.

Side note, many modern microwaves also have moisture sensor technology and that has made them intensely more useful as cooking appliances and to reheat food for service. I don't use mine for any meat-based prep (no maillol reaction) but for veggies and startches they are fantastic, easily matching my old ricemaker for rice.
posted by mwhybark at 9:59 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


nother part is that I resent the instant pot for not being instant. Cooks perfect pasta in X minutes. Where X minutes is after it's slowly come to pressure (I haven't timed this, but it's Too Long (tm)). And X minutes after waiting the 2-3 minutes for the pressure to escape.

heh. Very much this. I like my Instant Pot a lot and I made two dozen boiled eggs in it yesterday. I googled for recipes and I found 5-minute, 15-minute and 20-minute boiled egg instructions for the instant pot.

They were all the same set of instructions. They just sometimes excluded the time required for heating or cooling.
posted by GuyZero at 10:00 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Side note, many modern microwaves also have moisture sensor technology and that has made them intensely more useful

I have a very nice Bosch and I've tried its sensors and... I do not know WTF it is doing. It's doing something, but it aint stopping when it should.
posted by GuyZero at 10:01 AM on January 11


The Instant Pot brand pressure cooker uses a stainless steel liner, it can take your abuse. Some other brands have a nonstick liner, which is one of the reasons the IP pulled ahead early in the race - it's mostly a terrible idea to have nonstick in there. And if you're cooking properly (there's a minimum amount of "thin" liquid that needs to be present near the bottom, things like whole canned tomatoes or thick sauce/marinades will scorch if you don't mitigate it) you only burn something once in a great while getting too enthusiastic with the Saute function. I've never had trouble cleaning mine with just a 3m scrubbie or Scrub Daddy sponge, maybe a shake of Barkeeper's Friend in the worst cases.

Someone asked about rice or oatmeal sticking - there's a technique called "pot-in-pot" where you can put any oven-safe dish that'll fit inside the cooking liner, on a trivet. In Indian cooking, this is a very common thing and there's lots of tiffins for that, but you can also use round casserole dishes if they fit with a bit of room around the sides, or mason jars.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:02 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


Someone asked about rice or oatmeal sticking - there's a technique called "pot-in-pot" where you can put any oven-safe dish that'll fit inside the cooking liner, on a trivet. In Indian cooking, this is a very common thing and there's lots of tiffins for that, but you can also use round casserole dishes if they fit with a bit of room around the sides, or mason jars.

But presumably the pot in the pot gets hot, too, so doesn't the rice or oatmeal just stick to that instead?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:05 AM on January 11


Part of me also wonders how much time is really saved. Thanks to our gas fireplace, I can get water to a boil really quick. So maybe the instant pot does quinoa in 12 minutes (quick google), once it's up to pressure. I set the timer for 20 when I make it on the stove. But if I can boil water 5 minutes faster, the instant pot only saves 3 minutes. And during that time either way I'm using this time prepping the rest of the food that's going with the quinoa.

nobeagle, the nice thing about a pressure cooker is that you don't have to worry about burning the quinoa! My bf scorched the bottom of his pot badly because he got a work-call that he couldn't get off of halfway through making quinoa. Whereas for me, I just press the button and then a couple hours remember that I have quinoa in the pressure cooker.
posted by devrim at 10:07 AM on January 11


Instant pots and their advocacy fit perfectly into the pre-existing (for over a century) life-hack paradigm where you can be a better and happier worker bee if only you adopted these little time-saving tips, and oh yeah, there's an book for that, an app for that, and an appliance for that that will clearly pay off its cost in time and money saved. Punching up here, that problem isn't with overworked colleagues who have adopted instant pots as useful for family dinner prep or with you using an instant pot. The problem is a style of marketing that's been pervasive since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Of course as we know, whenever a device for reducing a certain form of gendered labor is introduced, our culture just moves the goalposts to require the same labor. Instead of banging out form letters in two drafts, office typists became word processors, graphic designers, typesetters, and database managers with barely a cost-of-living increase. Deliver a better clothes washer and we now wash our clothes more often. I suspect the instant pot will join that list if it survives.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 10:07 AM on January 11 [13 favorites]


Nobody said said instant pots the foot-operated butter churn would solve the problems of being overworked.

We have an instant pot. It makes the best squash. Turnips, corn on the cob, and hot cereals also take really well to it. Last weekend, my partner used it to save a cheap roast that I nearly ruined in the oven.
posted by giltay at 10:08 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


I agree with the article. Here's why I use and used crockpots and the Instant Pot:

My old schedule was that I would leave work to get the 5:15 (rare) or the 5:45 train, which once I had gotten home, driven to daycare, and brought my child home, it was either 6:15 or 6:45, and my younger child's bedtime was ideally 7:45pm, which left our family about 45 minutes to accomplish dinner, bath, reading/homework and bed. In order for me to leave my capitalist empire at 5:25 to get to the station for 5:45 the very latest train I could be on was the 7:43, so my children had to be up by 6:30am. If I could put everything in a pot in the fridge and then pull it out and turn it on, total win. Putting it in in the morning and having it on, also total win.

I will not get into the schedule we then and still have, where now my kids also have activities that end at 7:15 or START at 7pm, or my husband's and I having evening activities too...except to say that we have two nights where our total "dinner window" is about 25 minutes, so we really have to have a warm pot of something to scoop out or slices of quiche ready to go.

It's that simple. I think people who are all smarmy about TEH SKILZ are really not understanding that when you have kids, you're not just dealing with what time you get home at, you're dealing with a constraint on the other end.

That said, I think this author missed a slight ironic opportunity to point out that the Instant Pot was invented in part because of layoffsat Nortel, so it is a solution to ills of capitalism several times over while still maintaining the capitalist system and having used Amazon to do so.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:09 AM on January 11 [12 favorites]


But presumably the pot in the pot gets hot, too, so doesn't the rice or oatmeal just stick to that instead?

I don't see a ton of complaints about that, plus you can more easily lubricate the sides of your container, or use parchment or even a silicone or nonstick bowl (I have cake pans in both for use inside mine, but I don't make rice or oatmeal so I've not tested those). The heat's gentler on the containers since they don't touch the element at the base of the pot.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:14 AM on January 11


"Uniform bolus of sadness": great garage band name.

Great commentary - thanks all for sharing!
posted by milnews.ca at 10:15 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


can we get to the part of the thread where people start posting IP recipes already

(I used one for the first time a couple weeks ago and rest assured, you still have to do lots of virtuous kitchen busywork before you get to get to close the lid and wait for it to do terrifying things with steam and pressure)
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:19 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


I had to keep all the dishes going simultaneously and I was moving quickly the whole time, but 30 minutes is about my average prep-cook time.

...

I just don't really see the time savings.


The time saving is the not simultaneously managing 3 pots and moving quickly the whole time.

I do 90% of the cooking in my house. I don't use our instant pot a ton, but when I do it's because even though I still do as much prep work as normal, once I get to the cooking phase I can walk off and decompress and do something else. Even just read shit on my phone.

(Also is this the thread where I gripe that as a man who does 90% of the cooking, I feel super not-seen when articles about how hard it is for families to find time to cook meals assume that men basically aren't involved? I feel like outside of the 50+ cohort men are doing a lot of cooking these days, and it sucks to always be treated like that's not the case)
posted by tocts at 10:20 AM on January 11 [17 favorites]


JFC, I can cook. I spent a lot of time learning how to cook when I was a graduate student trying to avoid writing my dissertation. And because of that, I became a pretty damn good cook.

Then last year I had a sudden cardiac arrest, which has left me with horrible fatigue, a movement disorder akin to Steve Gutenberg’s “drinking problem” in Airplane, and some cognitive difficulties, mostly concerning memory and an awaremess of time. Being able to throw some prepped vegetables and meat in my Instant Pot (which is also great for using frozen meat so I don’t worry about chicken going bad, since I can’t drive myself to the damn grocery store) and some rice in the rice cooker lets me cook dinner without falling over, burning my hand on the stove, and dropping the meal on the floor. All of which happened yesterday when I was making a goddamn quesadilla. It lets me feel like I can fucking do something.

I wish people who decry the evils of modern convenience would consider how they might help people with various disabilities.
posted by bibliowench at 10:22 AM on January 11 [61 favorites]


I would say that the Instant Pot is the opposite of specialized cooking equipment. In my kitchen, it has replaced my slow cooker, rice cooker, and what used to be my go-to saucepan. I now use my IP, a dutch oven, and a saute pan for pretty much everything.

The one thing that has made the IP an absolute godsend, though, is hard boiling eggs. This thing makes absolutely perfect hard boiled eggs, with shells that slip off like a silk glove. Sure, I have a stovetop method that works a treat, but the IP takes all the effort out of it. (We eat a lot of hard boiled eggs in my house.)

Another point I think is worth making is that the IP doesn’t just replace the slow cooker, it makes dishes that I normally make in a slow cooker a lot tastier (to my palate). The thing I dislike about slow cooking is that it tends to meld all the flavors together so the dish tastes kind of monotonous. I prefer distinct flavors, and find that pressure cooking cooks the shit out of the ingredients without blending all the flavors together to the same extent as slow cooking. So for me, stuff like chili and curries taste significantly better when pressure cooked. (YMMV, obviously.)

The biggest weakness of the Instant Pot, I’ve found, is that it’s not great at dishes where you don’t want to just set it and forget it. Like beef stew, I cook the aromatics but then remove them later in the process and replace them with fresh veg, so the carrots and such aren’t cooked to death in the final dish. That’s easy to do with a slow cooker or stovetop dutch oven, but rather cumbersome with the IP.
posted by Enemy of Joy at 10:23 AM on January 11 [5 favorites]


I make oatmeal porridge every morning in my pressure cooker. I put 250ml water in the pot and then put in a trivet. On the trivet, I place a glass bowl that has 150g rolled oats and 700ml water. I bring the pot to high pressure and then cook under pressure for about 6 minutes. Let the pot cool until pressure is normal. Perfect every time. The same technique will work for just about any porridge-like substance: cheesecake, Christmas pudding, corn bread.
posted by No Robots at 10:33 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


you're not just dealing with what time you get home at, you're dealing with a constraint on the other end.


Yeah, my 6-year-old goes to bed at 7:30. We get home from work/school aftercare at 6:00. So, like, do the math. We don't use the IP that much these days because our kid is able to keep himself busy for the 20-30 minutes we need to dedicate 100% of our attention to kitchen things in order to get some food on the table.

But when you have infants and toddlers, you may be home--you may not even be working outside the home!--but you still have this little bomb that could go off at any time. And they do like to wait until you're elbows-deep in your risotto prep to, like, have a diaper blow-out that shoots poop onto the ceiling, or, yanno, they just start crying for no particular reason and won't stop until they are held and bounced for precisely 13.756 minutes. A 30-minute meal looks a lot different when you're simultaneously trying to keep an infant happy.

I'm *ahem* a really good cook. Like, really good. I enjoy cooking, I seriously considered culinary school until I realized that it would lead to me hating cooking, and I don't ever want that. My job is 8:30-5:00 and we don't work a minute past 5:00. I'm not in a tech start up grinding out 14-hour days. A single kitchen gadget that can pressure cook, slow cook, saute, cook on a timer, and keep warm until I'm ready for it is fab.


But presumably the pot in the pot gets hot, too, so doesn't the rice or oatmeal just stick to that instead?

The burning isn't caused by ambient heat but by the scorching caused by direct contact with the exact spot on the pot that the heating element is located beneath. Insulating the food from possible hotspots can solve the scorching.
posted by soren_lorensen at 10:36 AM on January 11 [17 favorites]


Also – I rarely find the time-savings argument to be true for me. I don’t save that much cooking time, but save a lot on cooking effort and attention. I don’t have to hover over the stove or worry about overcooking things. I’m not sure where this “chili in half an hour” thing comes from, because I probably spend about as much total cooking time on chili – maybe a little less, but not that much – but I don’t have to keep going back to the pot to stir it and make sure nothing’s burning, etc.
posted by Enemy of Joy at 10:36 AM on January 11


Enemy of Joy, could you describe your perfect hard boiled eggs method? I think eggs are like The Borg, in that every time I learn a new technique for Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs, it works for one month and then the eggs adapt and I get sticky shells again.
posted by moonmilk at 10:36 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


The other thing about time for cooking, is that there are *so many other things* that anyone, kids or not, could do with their time. This excludes people who genuinely like cooking.

I'm fussy in that despite our youngest being old enough to microwave something frozen, or make a sammich/cereal for himself to eat that we don't fall back on that. And as such I'm doing that cooking. But as cribcage said, if there was a food replicator where I could just push a button, and there's hot/good food done now, yes please. I'm distractable, and my wife is irritable with a second person in, and sometimes near, the kitchen, we both need to cook alone. So we can't even multi-purpose cooking with family time.

Instant pot requires a new set of skillz, so it's not a loss, so much as divergence of cooking skills. In the same way as the microwave required some skill and adaptations (yes, I can make leftovers that are not cold in the center yet scalding at the edges. No, one can't use full power. Yes it takes longer. Yes, cooking times need to be guessed/estimated by weight. Yes it's still faster than using the oven while staying moist. Yes, my wife thinks I'm magic), the instant pot will have slightly different times for food volumes / adjustments for the way you/your family likes it.

I'll see if the instant pot potatoes mash with a wooden spoon, if not I'll transfer to a different bowl/pot before using the ricer. Despite the stainless, I fear what would happen to me if I marred her instant pots.

I burned ramen noodles (set off the smoke detector and everything) once about 26 years ago when I got distracted by the modem. Since then, I'm *very* good about making sure the stove/oven is off, or I've gotten someone else to agree to take over responsibility.

tocts: I'm a man, but don't really take issue with not getting a pat on the head. I talk/over hear enough co-workers to know that it's still *really* a thing that many women are stuck in the kitchen more than they want with "no options."
posted by nobeagle at 10:38 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


Enemy of Joy, could you describe your perfect hard boiled eggs method?

I am going to chime in here because I did this two days ago! 24 very nice boiled eggs.

Add a cup of water to the IP, put in the rack, add your eggs. Set it for 5 minutes manual high pressure cook. When it's done, turn it off and wait 5 minutes to cool before releasing the pressure. So that's about 15 min total. While it's cooking, make a big bowl of ice water. When the eggs are done, put them all in the ice water for 5 min. This is apparently the key to getting them to peel easily. So 20 min total.

If you like your eggs more soft-boiled, you can apparently cook for as little as 2 min. I haven't tried that.
posted by GuyZero at 10:41 AM on January 11 [8 favorites]


That is my exact IP egg method, and I usually do 3 / 3 minutes to get slightly soft yolks, but the eggs have learned to fight back and I always get sticky shells despite the ice water.
posted by moonmilk at 10:43 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


Enemy of Joy, could you describe your perfect hard boiled eggs method?

Sure! I can't take credit for it though -- I use (well, did use) the Serious Eats method, and for me it works great, well cooked and very peelable.

Of course, it is a bit fiddly compared to the IP, where my method is, cook at pressure for 5 minutes, keep warm for 5 minutes, manual release, and cold water bath. So easy and really nice on busy mornings when I forgot to make them the night before. (Edit: or what GuyZero said!)
posted by Enemy of Joy at 10:45 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


Somewhat more on topic: I'm an enthusiastic cook, and the Instant Pot really feels like magic to me, the closest thing so far to a star trek food replicator. I'm also Indian-American and I use the IP for everything EXCEPT Indian food, because I'm too used to the old stovetop recipes. I should get one of those cookbooks.
posted by moonmilk at 10:47 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


> The burning isn't caused by ambient heat but by the scorching caused by direct contact with the exact spot on the pot that the heating element is located beneath. Insulating the food from possible hotspots can solve the scorching.

Despite being initially designed for the Chinese market*, the IP isn't as great a rice cooker as the single-purpose "fuzzy logic" machines, I think because the pot has greater thermal mass and so somewhat slower response times to heating than a light aluminum rice cooker pot. In particular, the thick bottom the liner pot has, so that it's not completely horrible at searing, makes it a less effective rice cooker. That's clearly an intentional design trade-off though.

It's not a bad rice/grains cooker, but it's not a fantastic one either.

*I think their first retailer was T&T supermarket, specifically the one in Ottawa on Hunt Club Road. T&T is a full size grocery store chain owned by a national Canadian grocer, Loblaws/Superstore, but catering to the Chinese communities. The IP was invented by a bunch of ex-Nortel engineers.
posted by bonehead at 10:49 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Really, basically any Serious Eats recipe for an instant pot / pressure cooker is worth at least trying, in my experience. I've done a fair number, and they come out very well. The only major caveat is that, like pretty much any Serious Eats recipe, you need to look at the prep list and if it's more than 2 or 3 things, ask yourself: am I a seasoned line cook, or an ex-professional-recipe-tester, or literally J. Kenji López-Alt? If no, add 30 minutes to the claimed time to prep this.
posted by tocts at 10:49 AM on January 11 [14 favorites]


Cooking and eating are so moralized and status associated in our culture. So the labor element is transformed into a version of leisure. For some I’m sure it is. But I personally find that every minute I spend on the logistics of feeding myself is basically equivalent in interest and fulfillment as the time I spend cleaning the bathroom. So cutting time stirring is awesome and totally worth it to me.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 10:50 AM on January 11 [7 favorites]


can we get to the part of the thread where people start posting IP recipes already

I have had success with this bean recipe, which I fell for mainly because of the name ("Fiasco beans").

This is the recipe I'm going to be using for tonkatsu ramen broth; it calls only for pigs' feet, water, and a half an onion, but I'm also going to throw in a couple of chicken feet just for the hell of it.

I may also pick up a pre-made rotisserie chicken for the very first time in my life this weekend just so I can make this broth.

I may also try this bone broth recipe out too.

This is the time of year when I like having lots of soups, and having some homemade stock on hand will make it really easy to make things like wonton soup or tortellini en brodo in a matter of minutes (pick up frozen tortellini, boil some of them up, heat up a cup or so of the stock and sling it into a bowl with the tortellini, dinner is sorted).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:51 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


Recipe prep times are always such a joke! It's like

"Prep Time: 15 minutes"

*sees 20 item ingredient list*

Fry_narrowed_eyes.gif
posted by Enemy of Joy at 10:54 AM on January 11 [10 favorites]


moonmilk - GuyZero's recipe sounds close to what my wife does (except I've asked for 6 minutes of cooking time). I can't recall if she lets the eggs naturally return to pressure of fully releases steam immediately upon finish. Occasionally, she'll comment that a batch of eggs didn't peel well; I think it's just the eggs. As eggs age, the air cell's size increases. This also might affect the membrane, and thus peelability.

However, I have to say that the best part of her making me eggs, is that one of the few things better than a perfect hard boiled egg, is a perfect hard boiled egg that's still warm from the cooking. The yolk is a bit more likely to stick in the throat, but the flavor and texture are just sublime to me.
posted by nobeagle at 10:54 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Also fuck man I went to school for 19 years and my skills are fairly rare but I also have to know how to deglaze a pot or determine when something is about to burn or moral panic end of society? Thanks but no thanks.

Back in the day cooking meant making food that won’t kill you or your kids. Many of us suffered through dry chicken breasts but did not actually die. Survival level recipe reading is probably still a skill everyone should have. But beyond literal death food who flippin’ cares?
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 10:55 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


My opportunities to prepare my own food are dwindling? Could have fooled me.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:58 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


We recently donated our pressure cooker, crock pot, stew pot, toaster, deep fryer, and toaster oven and bought an Instant Pot and Cuisinart air fryer. So much space was freed up in the kitchen. Long live the Instant Pot and air fryer! As someone said above, the Instant Pot is just an automated pressure cooker and the air fryer is a convection toaster oven. Honestly, I am giving the microwave side-eye at this point.
posted by domo at 10:58 AM on January 11 [8 favorites]


^Yeah, domo, I haven't used my oven range in months. I do everything, including Christmas dinner, with a pressure cooker and a halogen oven. See my post.
posted by No Robots at 11:02 AM on January 11


Still, it’s not great that the need to make chili in a half hour is so widespread that millions of people are willing to shell out a hundred bucks for the ability to do some version of it several times a week.

Wait till she finds out that some Americans devote an entire room of their house, sometimes spending hundreds of dollars on equipment, just to make meals. Sometimes they do it several times a week!
posted by straight at 11:05 AM on January 11 [22 favorites]


Boy if you don't like the Instant Pot - you are going to hate the Rotimatic.

If we ask nicely, can we at least agree that if the Foldimate or similar ends up actually working, and means we no longer have to fold clothes, then that will be ok right?
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:10 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


Here are two of my favorite freezer meals, they're fairly similar and both need additional spice (a sweet pepper or mild chili powder, if not a hot one, anyway), and they're "large family" meals so each recipe makes two 1-gallon ziplocs that make 4 hearty or 5-7 "add veg/starch side" type meals: Coconut Lime Chicken, Lime-Cilantro Chicken.

I use boneless skinless leg quarters because I have easy access to them. I recommend dark meat always in the IP, breast meat gets chewy.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:10 AM on January 11 [4 favorites]


Ah, finally the part where we get to recipes (please turn the thread into more of this).

This site has a ton of Indian recipes. Our device literally paid for itself within a month in our house (vegetarian Indian food is absurdly inexpensive, after a small investment in new spices). The only thing wrong with the site is the Onion Masala - I haven't found an IP recipe that doesn't trigger the 'burnt' status (I've moved on to making this on the stove). But one you have onion masala, a bunch of recipes become super-quick and easy to make. I also highly recommend the kheer recipe (cardamon rice pudding, don't forget the pistachio topping!).

Tonight I'll be making the instant pot aloo baingan masala (eggplant potato with onion masala), my prep time will be about 20 minutes (plus another 15 to get up to pressure and then cook), my cost will be... Maybe 5 dollars for 3-4 servings (which includes fresh bread and new cilantro for garnish).

And yes, the steamed eggs; the ease of pealing finds me making deviled eggs... More than I should.

I highly recommend reading the story of it's creation linked to by warriorqueen. It's pretty inspirational, and the most positive mention of Amazon I've seen (he didn't spend a dime marketing, it was all word of mouth, Amazon reviews made the product successful).
posted by el io at 11:12 AM on January 11 [16 favorites]


Yes! This is the best way. Quick and mostly fartless.

A bit TMI, but I've had to remove most carbs from my diet and now eat a lot of hummus. The more you eat of it the less gas there seems to be. Presumably your gut grows bacteria that can better digest the gas-causing enzymes.
posted by JamesBay at 11:13 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I haven't had any luck with the slow cooker function on my instant pot - it just doesn't get hot enough (and yes, I've tried putting it on the hottest slow cooker setting and cooking it for longer (e.g., doubling the time)). I bought mine two years ago though and maybe they've fixed the slow cook function since then. I'm not the only one with this problem though. My pot works fantastically to make yogurt and boil eggs, and I do love the timer function. I just wish I hadn't given my slow cooker away.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:14 AM on January 11


"But we're too cheap and too environmentally conscious (so much plastic packaging!) to ever get a service like that for ourselves."

I have started seeing grocery stores partnering with these meal-box services -- my preferred supermarket now offers basically the same thing as Blue Apron, except you pick the kit up at the store when you go grocery shopping, and it's way, way less overpackaged because they're portioning and packaging it in the store. And it's the same sort of idea, it comes with a nice recipe card and usually features at least one slightly-unusual ingredient. It costs quite a bit less than Blue Apron, but more than if you just bought the ingredients yourself (which pays for the packaging and portioning, and not ending up with five times the amount of mint you need). (You can even "subscribe" through the supermarket's website although I'm a little unclear what that entails -- do you get to just drive up and get your two or three mealboxes for the week at the "drive and go" spot?)

I haven't tried one yet, but I've definitely been intrigued by some of the offerings. One week the recipe(s) on offer will both sound tasty to me (and my family) and coincide with me needing one more thing to make that week, and I will definitely give it a go!

I'm a pretty good cook at this point, but I think if I were younger I would have bought the shit out of these and learned a lot of recipes and techniques and ingredients from them, it seems like a way less intimidating way to try out new things when you're a fairly novice home cook.

"I had to keep all the dishes going simultaneously and I was moving quickly the whole time, but 30 minutes is about my average prep-cook time."

As other people said, there's a HUGE difference between 30 mostly-unattended minutes and 30 constant-work minutes. I am happy to spend 30 constant minutes supervising multiple dishes when my husband is home and watching the kids. Because if I leave my children unattended for 30 full minutes while giving all my attention to the kitchen, that's going to end with a trip to the ER. It's improving as they get older, but one of their favorite dishes takes 20-25 minutes with three dishes going on the stove at once, constantly-attended, which takes some concentration, and I can't make it nearly as often as they want it because I'll get halfway through and World War III breaks out in the living room over who killed whom in Minecraft or something.

(I don't actually have an Instant Pot, but if I didn't have a Crock Pot I'd totally get one. My brother does amazing things with his!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:15 AM on January 11 [9 favorites]


"I just wish I hadn't given my slow cooker away."

Thrift stores. They used to be easy to find, but with the IP taking it's place (and people getting rid of their slow cookers), these are more plentiful than ever to pick up for under 10 bucks used.
posted by el io at 11:15 AM on January 11 [3 favorites]


We're a bunch of bean-eating vegetarians and we just learned to fart proudly, as Ben Franklin advised.

Boy if you don't like the Instant Pot - you are going to hate the Rotimatic.

If we ask nicely, can we at least agree that if the Foldimate or similar ends up actually working, and means we no longer have to fold clothes, then that will be ok right?


This comment was a roller coaster of "that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen" straight to "Shut up and take my money!"
posted by soren_lorensen at 11:15 AM on January 11 [6 favorites]


I am the sole cook in a DINK household, who actually both has time to spend on cooking and enjoys spending time that way. I don't own one of these, and probably won't get one unless my rice cooker breaks - not a huge fan of pressure cookers and I've never enjoyed a crock pot recipe as much as just making the same recipe in a pan on the stove.

But I absolutely see the appeal, and I *love* one pot meals, and I am hard-pressed to understand how anyone considers using an Insta-Pot somehow "not cooking."
posted by aspersioncast at 11:17 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


How much of a hassle is setup and cleanup for these things?

I can't see myself eating many one-pot meals. But it definitely seems like it could be useful for cooking side dishes and ingredients, such as beans and rice, completely unattended, while I work on other things in the kitchen.

Can I just remove the dirty pot and throw it in the dishwasher? Or are there, like, separate parts that need to be assembled and broken down and cleaned?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 11:19 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


"I just wish I hadn't given my slow cooker away."

Thrift stores. They used to be easy to find, but with the IP taking it's place (and people getting rid of their slow cookers), these are more plentiful than ever to pick up for under 10 bucks used.


Or, ask on your neighborhood Buy Nothing group. I needed a crockpot for melting beeswax and got nearly 10 offers.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:20 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


How much of a hassle is setup and cleanup for these things?

Removable pot and lid are dishwasher safe. And you're done.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:22 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I've mentioned it on Metafilter before, but the jasmine rice that the Instapot makes is so fucking good. It's better than my dedicated everyday rice cooker. It's better than the $400 Zojirushi that my mother bought me when I married. It lets me make better rice than my 66 year old Chinese mother makes. It makes rice so good that my cranky, picky, Confucian, civil-service-examinations-are-the-only-way-to-select-people-for-higher-office, don't-trust-democracy, human-rights-are-a-Western-invention father appreciates it.

That's right. I, American-born Chinese person who is at least 10 dress sizes too big to for my parents, who married a white guy, who does not do her proper wifely duty in keeping the house clean and organized because clearly it's my job despite the fact that I work a 60 hour week at a full-time job that pays all the bills

I can, by using the Instapot on its default settings

make rice good enough for my father to compliment.

DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY THINGS MY FATHER HAS COMPLIMENTED ME ON AS AN ADULT????
posted by joyceanmachine at 11:22 AM on January 11 [123 favorites]


And setup is normally "put lid on and press buttons for cooking time according to what the recipe says". It's no more complicated than a microwave.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:25 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Oh, another recipe:

I made the black bean part of this combo from Binging with Babish entirely in the Instant Pot. (Basically the whole of "step 3" on the page.) It was convenient to be able to saute the sofrito ingredients and cook the beans entirely in the Instant Pot while the rice was simmering on the stove; it's kind of what I would have done if I were doing it stovetop, though. The appeal for me was still that the beans actually came out tender in a fraction of the time.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:27 AM on January 11


The other thing about time for cooking, is that there are *so many other things* that anyone, kids or not, could do with their time. This excludes people who genuinely like cooking.

Heck, I enjoy trying out tasty recipes...voluntarily...on the weekends. I find weeknight cooking pure drudgery and, yes, even if it's "only" half an hour, I have better uses for that time.
posted by praemunire at 11:32 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]


The only thing that hasn't worked out for me in the IP was the time recently that I put a bunch of cheese cubes--and nothing else--in it and walked away. Did you know that it has a display that just says 'burn'?
posted by tofu_crouton at 11:38 AM on January 11 [10 favorites]


Ok - I'm going to stop polluting this thread with non-Instant Pot crazy home device links...but not until I add the launch movie for the Laundroid. If creepy science-fiction stories about home help machines that awaken and kill you in the middle of the night is your bag, then Laundroid's launch video is for you! Plus it will fold your undies.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 11:44 AM on January 11


I'm genuinely curious... does everyone here really own one brand of electric pressure cooker, or has "Instant Pot" become generic that fast? After research, I chose a Breville model, but I only find recipes if I search for Instant Pot.
posted by thoroughburro at 11:47 AM on January 11


Instant Pot boiled eggs ftw
posted by Burhanistan at 11:51 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying that the article is wrong, but what I found different about its perspective vs. my experience, is that in my little corner of the world, the Instant Pot is... really bro-y.

Like it's a thing that dudes buy. Literally some of the same people who were super into Soylent a few years ago, or putting butter in their coffee ("goin' keto, bro?" "yeah bro!" *fist bump*) the year before that... they're the ones trading Instant Pot recipes for beans and stuff, and buying that really expensive glass Tupperware that's color-coded by day of the week... you get the idea. Meal planning has always been a thing, but now it's A Thing. (This is probably an economic indicator, somehow.)

I expected the article to be more about how a bunch of dudes have swooped in on a home appliance that has been around in various forms for 50 years, added some computer chips, jacked up the price, and suddenly announced that they've reinvented cooking.

But this thread has started to bring me around to the idea that maybe there's something to the whole Instant Pot thing, and maybe I'm missing out by eyerolling it as the latest fad from the 10-Hour-Workweek/Body set.

But if I buy one, then I'll be an Instant Pot Bro. Hmmm.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:52 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


People using the Instant Pot seem to be actually cooking with ingredients and not just combining processed packaged foods, so that sounds good. I used to use the crock pot to make chili and stew when I cooked for me and my kid. Coming home to the meal nearly done and the kitchen fragrant with dinner is excellent. I like cooking. Soup made from scratch, broth made from the leftover bones of a turkey, is soothing and tastes better than anything packaged. It can be quite frugal and less wasteful of food, packaging, nutrients. I have the time. Anything that helps people figure out how to make life a little better sounds good to me. At some point, I'm sure I'll buy one.

I liked to watch cooking shows when I had cable, but when I go to my fridge, the ingredients are not sitting there all ready to use, they need to be rummaged for, trimmed, washed. Maybe someone ate the mushrooms, maybe I forgot to defrost the hamburg. If you have kids, they will need your attention, there will be phone calls, the dog will trip you. 30 minute meal? More like 45 if you're lucky, 60 minutes in real time, and the dishes will still need to be washed. It requires daily planning and organization. I'd like to see kitchen planners integrate useful tools so we could retain some counter space. And room for the wine the cook deserves when the kids are in bed, while s/he washes dishes.
posted by theora55 at 11:54 AM on January 11


joyceanmachine: I've mentioned it on Metafilter before, but the jasmine rice that the Instapot makes is so fucking good.

I've had mixed success with rice so far. Can you kindly share your method?
posted by maudlin at 11:55 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


in my little corner of the world, the Instant Pot is... really bro-y.

Huh. A friend of mine recently texted me that she'd bought an Instant Pot, "because [she's] a busy white lady". (Good-natured ribbing ensued about the box of Franzia that's always in her fridge.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 11:57 AM on January 11 [2 favorites]


On the general subject of exploding pressure cookers:

In one of the communal art spaces I have lived in, one of the members was a sweet, smart, gentle and, well, a doofus. Said sweet doofus had some of the worst cooking skills I've ever seen. Imagine a stoner weirdo vegan noise artist channeling someone's grandma that cooked the life out of all the vegetables all the time. I remember very clearly thinking to myself one day about how most of the things he cooked resembled a bucket full of a particularly healthy and lively pond, like a shovelful of seaweed but with even less structure. Or, even "wait is this hot compost wtf are you messing with me?"

Well, he was using the pressure cooker one day and there were about 4-5 people standing around the big communal kitchen and, yep, he went and said "Huh, I wonder if this is done yet?" and everyone else in the kitchen said "wait don't no stop!" while simultaneously leaving as quickly as possible.

I managed to take a good few long steps backwards and watched him open the damn thing as the lid was propelled directly into the ceiling by an explosive green geyser of something that looked like soupy boiled seaweed, which cascaded down all over him followed shortly by the lid that blew right out of his hands. I still remember my ears ringing from the pop of that lid coming off and the comical timing of it pancaking against the ceiling before clattering back down.

"Ow? Well that was really dumb." he said, standing there covered in steaming green gack like the swamp thing getting out of the sauna.

"You fucking dumbass what the hell were you thinking man what is wrong with you you could have fucking killed someone what the hell!!" a bunch of other weirdos that weren't afraid of risks all chimed in all at once.

He's lucky he didn't have a bunch of fat or oil in that pot and that it wasn't a roast or something and that it was basically just greens, water and maybe hot sauce and salt. He got away with a light scalding and a huge mess.
posted by loquacious at 11:58 AM on January 11 [9 favorites]


Yeah I need to know everything about this rice cooking success even down to the brand of rice thank you
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 12:01 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]


> I've had mixed success with rice so far. Can you kindly share your method?

There's a recipe book that comes with the Instant Pot that lists out the right ratios and times for white and brown rice, in my experience it's pretty perfect.

> But this thread has started to bring me around to the idea that maybe there's something to the whole Instant Pot thing, and maybe I'm missing out by eyerolling it as the latest fad from the 10-Hour-Workweek/Body set.

To me, the big innovation here is how consistent the Instant Pot is in terms of pressure and temperature for its presets, which takes a fair bit of the guesswork out of using someone else's recipes. There's definitely plenty of hype, but it is also not entirely undeserved.
posted by cirgue at 12:02 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


Yeah I'm going to skip the article but the thesis is right. The contradiction is simple: if you are okay with Instant Pot but sneer on Modernist Cuisine, that is an example of unexamined false consciousness. I never thought of it this way until I read this thread, so I would credit the article for provoking this. I love using the Instant Pot and amateuring around in the kitchen but am not for a second fazed by some article saying that aspects of these are problematic in the bugger picture. It's important for me as a food lover to keep sight of that.
posted by polymodus at 12:04 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


All right, I'll give you a link to a whole world of Good Stuff.
Tried and true, but kind of exotic. And I do 18 hard boiled eggs at a time, using the 4-4-4 method (4 min cook, 4 min natural release, 4 min ice bath). The sooner you peel the better, but still easy to peel a week later. (NOTE: I think they are in cahoots, but still).
posted by DesbaratsDays at 12:04 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


Ah -- found joyceanmachine's jasmine rice method here. The secret may be the thorough rinsing and draining, then the partial cooldown/quick release.
- Jasmine rice, and I say this as Chinese-American who grew up in a family that prided itself on its fancy taste in rice. Jasmine rice, rinsed, drained super-well, add an equal volume of water and NOT more as is usual because you need less water to make it in a pressure cook. Turn the instapot to the rice setting, make sure the quick-vent thingy on top is in the "seal" position, and wait until it beeps to let you know the setting has taken. You don't need to make any changes to the defaults. Then walk away.

When done, let it the timer tick over to 10 minutes, then quick-vent and serve. I've accidentally let it sit until 25 or more minutes, and the rice was fine.

It makes rice better than the $300 Zojirushi that I've used. It makes rice good enough to impress my mother. It will make two cups of cooked rice just as well as it makes eight.
posted by maudlin at 12:06 PM on January 11 [16 favorites]


Boy if you don't like the Instant Pot - you are going to hate the Rotimatic.

I think it's a difference in the way I like to cook/eat, but I've never been tempted by the Instant Pot, but now I am DYING TO HAVE A ROTIMATIC. Fresh flatbread at home with no rolling? I would use that every single day.
posted by jb at 12:14 PM on January 11 [6 favorites]


How much of a hassle is setup and cleanup for these things?

I found with my old manual pressure cooker, and the IP as well, that cleanup was very easy, at least compared to dutch ovens and slow cookers. Maybe because the steam tends to loosen the food at the bottom? I dunno. I usually hand wash and everything comes right off. The only time this hasn't been true is when I cooked something with a lot of cheese in it and not a lot of liquid, it did create a crust that I had to use Bon Ami to get rid of.

in my little corner of the world, the Instant Pot is... really bro-y.

Weird - at least in my case, it was my wife who bought the IP and converted me.
posted by Enemy of Joy at 12:14 PM on January 11


thoroughburro - it really is a lot of Instant Pot users. Both of ours are the official instant pot. One is newer and better, but they're both the same size. Most of the people I know who've been gifted another brand of electric pressure cooker either forgot them in the closet, or returned for credit to buy an Instant Pot. Recipes are instant pot specific; some of the cheaper electric pressure cooker don't have the same / as many settings.

For some people who don't cook (a few 20-30 year olds at work I'm thinking of), finding anything with their equipment that might mess up the recipe is enough that they won't bother and will continue to not-cook.

--

Definitely doesn't seem bro-y to me. Neither me wife nor I have put butter in our coffeee (hot chocolate, honey, molasses or maple syrup FTW), bought a $500 cold press juicer, gone keto, or tried soylent (although I do occasionally make myself "kibble" (chick peas, lentils, black beans, white beans (all from cans), mixed frozen veggies mixed together with salsa in large batches)).

--

loquacious - I can't describe how much that story made me cringe. I sometimes has intrusive thoughts. When using my wife's standmixer I keep having thoughts of shoving my fingers into the mixer to have it mangle me bones. When I'm depressurizing the instand pot, I have thoughts of just opening it up to cause an explosion. I was under the impression that there was some safety stuff such that it wouldn't open under pressure like that. I'm going to cringe some more, and maybe end up microwaving sweet potatoes for my sweet potato pie this weekend.
posted by nobeagle at 12:15 PM on January 11 [4 favorites]


xammerboy: If you want to make good Indian or Asian food you're much better off looking at how the dishes are made in a InstantPot than reading almost any cookbook oriented toward Americans in the last 50 years

Better still (if you have the time): do neither. Find one of the many excellent cooking blogs (or YouTube channels) from home cooks who grew up with those cuisines.

The smell of a kitchen that's had dals and curries simmering for hours is the coziest of all smells.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 12:25 PM on January 11


Heard good things about the IP, although I may wait until IPv6 to ensure I will have the capability to address each individual grain of rice.
posted by mach at 12:30 PM on January 11 [15 favorites]


> women were largely relegated to the home during the day

What the fuck? I'm a housewife and I'm not "relegated" anywhere.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:31 PM on January 11 [4 favorites]


Unless the Instapot can take me from fridge-to-table in 30 minutes or less, I'm not sure what kind of material difference it makes in my life as a full-time working mom always faced with how to get dinner on the table in a reasonable amount of time. If the idea is that you use it to make ahead dinners or parts of dinner, then I also don't get how it's so revolutionary compared to a slow cooker, or just say cooking a big pot of beans the old fashioned way.
posted by schwinggg! at 12:35 PM on January 11


*points to t-shirt*
posted by ominous_paws at 12:41 PM on January 11


I first heard about the Instant Pot through tech bros. So that's true as well when you consider how product adoption works. The fact that I heard it already biased me against it (I was already using a high-end stovetop pressure cooker every day, why would I want some weaker electric version of it, was my rationale at the time).

But then. The second group I started hearing Instant Pot wonders was middle class middle aged or retired people, i.e. my parents' friends. We bit the bullet and finally got one.

My main issue with it is that there are too many Instant Pot recipe sources online, it's rather paralyzing not being able to distinguish the mediocre recipes from recipes that are really outstanding. It's a time and money investment to explore that space... Which can be a plus in that there's much for a home cook to discover over time, with just this one tool.

Meanwhile I still use my standard stovetop pressure cooker which for attended cooking is nice because it heats up fast and attains higher actual pressures. Electric cookers are slower and often reach nonstandard pressures, which I suspect is why the Instant Pot documentation you get doesn't actually specify what High and Low are in SI units.>
posted by polymodus at 12:44 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


People in my social circle point to the decreased bean-cooking time as the miraculous part of the instant pot - beans of all kinds, including chickpea curries, go a lot faster. And that means home-cooked, low-salt, very cheap beans. If you don't eat a lot of beans, or you're thinking about it as "is an instant-pot faster/easier than any other way to get [a generic meal] on the table" maybe it's not so useful. I come from a milieu in which beans are sort of the ur food.
posted by Frowner at 12:44 PM on January 11 [7 favorites]


Every point in that article oscillates betweeen condescension and sneering.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:47 PM on January 11 [5 favorites]


I suspect is why the Instant Pot documentation you get doesn't actually specify what High and Low are in SI units

I think the lack of a higher pressure setting is actually a feature for the IP. The vast majority of people want to fast-cook beans or pressure cook a roast to make it more tender. Most people are not doing pressure canning.

I was actually really disappointed the IP doesn't do pressure canning because it's the kind of thing I want to do once a year and I really don't want to buy and store a huge one-day-out-of-365 pressure canner. But then I decided to spend that day doing something else and I moved on.
posted by GuyZero at 12:51 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Oh, hi, thread! As I started reading this, I was making mixed bean soup in my IP-alike (the Cosori – a great choice, especially for EU people (and probably other non-NA areas?) who don't want to pay twice as much for the IP, and it comes with a glass lid, which is extra $ for the IP, and an extra seal thingy, which the IP doesn't give you).

I love soups, stews, casseroles, etc., so it's great for me/us. We made Kalua Pig for New Years, and it was faboo. Aside from the pulled pork, which was delicious, THE CABBAGE. Wow best cabbage ever. We made a half-recipe of her Magic Mushroom Powder to use in this, and now have a great new spice mix for other stuff too.

So far, my all-time favorite IP recipe is Amy + Jacky's Umami Beef Stroganoff, not because it's fast, but because it's just mad delicious.

And, wow, okay, my bean soup is finished, and it's ridiculous. I have never made such good bean soup with any of my old techniques (and I've made A LOT of bean soup). I had to pressure cook some chicken for my dog, so I started with that light broth, then sautéed onion, green pepper, celery, and whole garlic cloves* on the stove (since I didn't feel like dumping the chicken stock into another bowl in order to use the pressure cooker on sauté), added the beans and the veg mix to the IP, added some water because it needed more liquid, some chopped smoked ham, some ground pepper, garlic powder, and some of the Magic Mushroom Powder mentioned above, AND a most wonderful thing: Knorr Homestyle vegetable stock. This stuff is brilliant (nothing at all like the old Knorr bouillon cubes. I also have their chicken and beef versions, but so far have only used the vegetable stock. Love.

So not much time saving in this description so far, but then at this point I just set the pot for 30 minutes and no more dealing with it, as opposed to hovering/checking for another two or three hours (sometimes burning the bottom, or coming close if I forgot to check) ... and the flavor is better than my stovetop versions. So, yeah, we really do love it, and not just as a labor/time saver. There is definitely a learning curve (after which you can follow recipes OR wing your own stuff), and I read a lot of info about cooking in an IP, which isn't fun for everyone, and just for various reasons, it just won't be for everyone anyway, obviously. I waited a long time to get one though, because I felt like it was a gimmicky thing (and I have very little counter space), and now I really wish I would have acquired it sooner.

I don't know about the IP as a harbinger of lost arts. Our parents / grandparents had stovetop pressure cookers, and this is just an easier version, which doesn't seem terribly dystopic to me. If we find more uses for it because it's easier to use, that's ... okay? It doesn't solve the problems of capitalism, labor and sexism, but neither does any other home appliance, and it would be weird to blame your dishwasher or refrigerator for not delivering a better society.

* IP tip I learned; the flavor of minced garlic sort of disappears in a pressure-cooked dish; better to use whole cloves
posted by taz at 12:51 PM on January 11 [4 favorites]


Like, beans are the main reason I'm interested in this thing. Slow-cooker beans are the best beans. And people are telling me that I can have slow-cooker beans in 20 minutes. (Not to mention the tasty things you can make with fresh beans – like homemade hummus.)

Currently, if I want scratch-made hummus or black bean tacos, I have to start planning the day before.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 12:52 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


IP tip I learned; the flavor of minced garlic sort of disappears in a pressure-cooked dish; better to use whole cloves

Oh, that reminds me of what happens with onions in pressure cooking. I love onions and my wife hates them, but likes the taste if she doesn't have to actually eat pieces of onion. So I like how onions will melt away into the dish, so the flavor is there but the actual onion itself disappears. (I then add fresh onion to my plate, which horrifies my wife.)
posted by Enemy of Joy at 12:56 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


If you’re looking for recipes, I guarantee you’ll find at least 2-3 winners from this list at Serious Eats. My regular go-tos are the Colombian Chicken Stew (Fantastic! And ridiculously easy!) and the Chile Verde. The Beef Stew and the Mushroom Risotto are both labor-intensive but 1000% worth the effort. Chicken Bacon Lentil Stew and the Beef Barker soup are great, as well.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:00 PM on January 11 [7 favorites]


Marketing plays up the speed of pressure cooking a lot because it's easy to juke the stats around on it. The fine print is always in not mentioning the time to come up to pressure, or the time to depressurize after (generally speaking, you rarely want to quick-release right away, that's a good way to get food gunk up into the release valve). Marketing's gonna market.

I can easily see how it got bro-y or into bro circles exposure based on varying mileages, because as kitchen tools and appliances go, it's easier to market thataway. Buttons and computer chip and set-and-forget nature lets people performatively huff about not liking to cook but it's not really cooking (ew cooties) is it, manly grunt. But all that's a distraction from how handy the darn thing is.

Likewise agreed with the many upthread who reacted to the "you have to very carefully follow recipes" with a "lol no." It's one of the things that got me experimenting more freely and with more confidence with cooking in general, for the range of stuff it's suited for, winging-it factor is pretty high. Also got me making my own stock much more often, etc.

Also agreed the slow-cooker function doesn't perform quite as well as a dedicated one--my main recommendation there is to treat the "normal" setting when slowcooking as "low" on a standalone cooker and adjust accordingly.

The underlying thesis that nifty technology doesn't solve underlying social problems is a big old "well, duh" for me certainly, but I guess it might get the concept out there to more people who hadn't considered that ugly truth before. It might give some Instant Bros something to consider!
posted by Drastic at 1:00 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I use mine a lot but in addition to “traditional” cooking. We don’t do a lot of single dish meals. Brown rice is super easy (22 mins), prepping beans, making stock and making yogurt are my main uses. But it’s not irreplaceable like my immersion blender, the greatest invention in the past 100 years.
posted by misterpatrick at 1:01 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]


So I like how onions will melt away into the dish, so the flavor is there but the actual onion itself disappears.

Yeah, onions in a pressure cooker are great. I make an enchilada filling that's literally a 5lb sack of onions sliced thin (mandolin helps) to 1-1.5lb of cubed chuck plus some beef stock and spices. Brown chuck in a little oil, sautee onions in the rendered fat, add stock + spices + the browned beef and pressure cook ~1hr. You may have to cook off some liquid at the end.

So fucking delicious; the onion basically melts away and you end up with an amazing shredded beef/onion mixture.
posted by tocts at 1:03 PM on January 11 [11 favorites]


beef stock and spices

That’s a really dirty trick you played, there, not mentioning what spices.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:08 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


My god, this is why I love this site so very much. Y'all took an article bitching about the Instant Pot and turned into a discussion of all the ways that the device is actually awesome. Plus, recipes.
posted by teleri025 at 1:17 PM on January 11 [7 favorites]


I am still struggling to like my Instant Pot. It takes so long to pressurize and de-pressurize that the purported time-savings seem exaggerated. Most recipes I've followed have resulted in spectacularly overcooked meat accompanied by some kind of mediocre sauce.
posted by w0mbat at 1:17 PM on January 11


The smell of a kitchen that's had dals and curries simmering for hours is the coziest of all smells.

YMMV. One thing that I like about the Instant Pot is that it doesn't smell up the whole house... when I make stew on the stove top and simmer it for hours, by the time it's done I'm kind of sick of it and don't really want to eat it.
posted by Daily Alice at 1:24 PM on January 11 [7 favorites]


So I like how onions will melt away into the dish, so the flavor is there but the actual onion itself disappears.

Anything that obliterates onion and its slimy, nasty texture is a big win in my book. I don't mind the taste/flavor that onion imparts, but I loathe actual onion. I really need to start using my Instant Pot...
posted by jzb at 1:35 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


A tip for flavor: the high heat is really hard on flavors, so you want to strategize your seasonings so certain ones go in before and certain ones after - you see that in a lot of Indian pressure cooking recipes that pressure-cook first and then season with a tadka/chaunk - whole spices fried in oil or ghee. So a lot of my curry/stew type dishes will involve doing the protein first along with those melt-away onions and any hard vegetables that can stand up to protein cooking times, and then after release I add delicate veg, garlic, delicate seasonings, maybe close the lid and let it carryover back to pressure briefly (or nearly to pressure anyway), then take the lid off and finish with the sauce or paste or whatever that's bringing the bulk of the flavor.

If I have the time and inclination for more dramatic moves, I'll pour the contents into a large mixing bowl through a colander and return the liquid to the pot to boil down on saute mode. At least, I do that if it's chicken because the extra boiling seems to make it extra chewy. Otherwise sometimes I just thicken it with cornstarch or put Japanese curry roux in it or something, to thicken it up.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:36 PM on January 11 [5 favorites]


I join the people who think it's sad—and harmful, in several different ways—how many Americans can't "cook" (in the sense that most of us define that term).

This seems mean. I didn't know I was fake cooking like some fake cook.

I really need to start using my Instant Pot...

You should make some honey garlic chicken thighs. Mmmmm.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 1:43 PM on January 11 [4 favorites]


Seconding how good the Serious Eats instapot recipes are. My favorites are:

Chickpea stew with ginger and spinach is 1000% more than the sum of its parts. My husband is deeply skeptical of vegan cooking generally, and one of my first nicknames for him is Mr. Additional Ingredient because he loves adding stuff to established recipes. He was particularly skeptical of this recipe because it's just tomatoes and chickpeas and spinach and ginger! Where's the luscious fat! Where's the flavor! But this is one of the few vegan recipes that he makes faithfully without additional ingredients. It's savory and delicious and the spinach almost dissolves so it's actually kinda creamy? There is no way it should be this good.

Tomato sauce using the Instapot is my go-to, and given the amount of effort involved, it is shocking how good this tastes, especially if you, uh. Saute a couple beef bones in the olive oil and butter in the Instapot before tossing everything else in.

Caramelized onions. I mean, you could stand there over the stove sweating for 45 minutes or however the fuck long it takes constantly stirring to caramelize-but-not-burn two pounds of onions. Or you could just throw them into the Instapot and walk away, like that recipe there. I like to run it a little longer to make caramelized onion jam that tastes so good on grilled cheese, or on rice, or in a soup.

Chicken stock in the Instapot is a revelation. I have never made such good chicken stock in my life, and it takes so much less work than anything on the stovetop because I can walk away and not have to watch the damn thing for ages to make sure it's at the right level of bubbling but not boiling or wtfever.

And now that it's so damn easy to make stock, it's my go-to for when vegetables have gone wilt-y in the fridge, but not actually bad or mold-y. Or when we have rotisserie chicken left over. Or when we've cracked crabs or lobsters, and I have a bunch of shells and legs left . I rinse everything off in the sink, then dump it into the Instapot with a few cups of water, so that we're below the line of the legs and shells, but I can see some liquid down there. Add some carrots that are too old to eat, whatever aliums I have lying around, half-sprouted or not, stir, lock for 25 minutes, release however you want, and it's pure crustacean magic.

(Of course, then your little rubber gasket smells like seafood until the next time you cook something strongly flavored. It's why some people have multiple gaskets, but I'm too lazy for that.)
posted by joyceanmachine at 1:45 PM on January 11 [29 favorites]


I join the people who think it's sad—and harmful, in several different ways—how many Americans can't "cook" (in the sense that most of us define that term).

There are many reasons for this, which have been amply covered in various other posts. The existence of the Instant Pot is an attempt to make up for these reasons by helping provide an option aside from "takeout".

And even for the people who do cook "in the sense that most of us define that term" - the Instant Pot can still be useful. You'll note that the thing I'll be using mine for this weekend is for soup stocks, which I intend to stash away for future "real cooking". The same for beans - sometimes I'll just cook up a pot of dried beans and then dole them out into smaller containers, so they're on hand for more traditional cooking sessions (instead of buying 3 cans of Goya for my last Tuscan bean soup, I cooked up some dried cranberry beans and some dried white beans, had an ample amount for the soup, and saved the leftovers for another dish later).

And by the way - maybe the way we "define" cooking could be expanded. If a human being is being fed by something that was not purchased pre-prepared and served to order, I say it counts.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:53 PM on January 11 [6 favorites]


Back to the thread... With some timing information. I just made this dish. Total time from getting the IP out of the cupboard to hitting the 'start' on the pressure setting (and this includes sauteing the cumin seeds and serrano pepper): 10 minutes. In 14 minutes it will be finished (10 minutes to build up pressure, 4 minutes under pressure), and I could have dinner served in less than 30 minutes time total. That being said, my spouse will come home a half hour after it's done, so it'll be in 'warm' mode until then, waiting for her return.

To briefly address the original article (which I would argue doesn't merit too much discussion); I had never attempted to cook Indian cuisine before my IP; it was too intimidating to me.

Honestly, I could write a few paragraphs attacking the original article, but I don't think it's worth my while. I will point out, however, that the original article briefly discussed how pressure cookers have been a mainstay in India for decades, and I'm thrilled to try to enjoy some of their food at home for the first time in my life.
posted by el io at 1:53 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


Still annoyed at the original article for this: Shifting cooking’s burden of vigilance off a person and onto a machine wasn’t necessary when women were largely relegated to the home during the day. Iff you assume that there's nothing else to do, <sarcasm>even if you're a woman! even in the house!</sarcasm>

Oy already. Even with modern, relatively safe pressure cookers, it's messy and somewhat dangerous and ruins supper if you get distracted and let them blow everything down the sides onto the stovetop.

When I'm making a big batch of something, or am in a big hurry, or am starting with something frozen, I borrow a trick from Lorna Sass and also M. Pomaine (check out the subtitle: French Cooking in Ten Minutes: Adapting to the Rhythm of Modern Life (1930) and start water boiling first thing, before even taking anything else out of the fridge. Speeds up the coming-to-pressure a lot.

Other favorite trick, do the cooking in the pressure cooker, and then broil it whenever we're ready to eat. Adds a bit of crunch or browning, not much trouble, not tightly scheduled.
posted by clew at 1:55 PM on January 11 [4 favorites]


(I do think the name is misleading for people who weren't cooking dry beans and oxtail to start with. I think of mine as the Helpful Pot, like a simple but reliable kitchen gnome in a fairy tale: won't burn my food, will make sure it's cooked, will wait until I want to eat.)
posted by clew at 1:57 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]


Your preconceived notions? You're holding them wrong.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:01 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


I recently gave my mother’s instant pot a home (a mixture of post-chemo food issue/appetite stuff and my dad working away from home means it doesn’t make sense for her to keep it) and so far I have made: the most delightfully creamy (but with no cream) butternut soup, enough porridge that I can portion it out and reheat in the microwave with milk for a filling, hot breakfast that doesn’t require me washing a porridge-y pan first thing, a delicious chickpea and veg curry, and a batch of quinoa that actually was consistently nice. And I got a lot of knitting done.

I am testing out mash as we speak and I look forward to making a batch of black beans that doesn’t permeate my house and make me wake up in the middle of the night, paranoid that I’ve accidentally left them on the stove. (Thanks brain....)

What I would like is more recipes that use metric because seriously you guys, butter is not something that should be measured in tablespoons (it is neither a liquid or a powder) and cup measurements are the work of the devil (esp. with ingredients that can vastly vary in volume depending on how packed they are.) while I get used to it.
posted by halcyonday at 2:04 PM on January 11


I don't think the real complaint is that some people think automation such as Instant Pot solves capitalism. It's that Instant Pot itself is a capitalist idea and it ideologically cedes the terms of social emancipation to its own hegemonic framework (social relations mediated by commodities and how that interacts with labor classism).

Sure, nobody thinks a dishwasher solves capitalism either. The issue is more like, if people in their social reproduction feel pressured to buy dishwashers to maintain some level of living standards.

The reality is that some people (my dad) literally and uncritically fetishize new tech. And acting as if that social reality doesn't exist, as if it's 2019 so why would anyone think tech doesn't solve politics, plays into capitalist thought as well.
posted by polymodus at 2:06 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


yeah but i can get mashed potatoes from raw potatoes with the instant pot in 15 minutes so i'm good
posted by anem0ne at 2:07 PM on January 11 [7 favorites]


In 2018, my entire tomato crop was murdered viciously by one 121 degree day. This weekend, I am dumping a ton of well cured chicken poop compost into the beds, buying shade sails and having them installed and expect a healthy crop. Tomato planting season starts fairly early in Los Angeles.

I am going to make ALL of the marinara in my instant pot. Then I am going to can that marinara (traditional water bath method) and eat my fucking delicious homemade marinara all year long.
posted by Sophie1 at 2:08 PM on January 11 [12 favorites]


Our favorite thing to do with the Instant Pot is pulled pork. It takes an all-day endeavor and cuts it down to two hours, start to finish:
If your pork has fat on it, saute it fat side down for 5 minutes.
Turn pork fattiest side up, then add 1 cup of stock to pot. Add a dash of liquid smoke and salt to taste. It really depends on how salty your stock is.
Close the lid and set the vent to closed.
Pressure cook for an hour and a half. Let the pot depressurize naturally.
When the lock drops, it's ready! Shred with two forks and a knife.

You can make puerco pibil if you have more time. Recipe is the same, just marinade first for about an hour in:
5 tablespoons annatto seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
8 whole allspice
1⁄2 teaspoon whole cloves
2 red habanero peppers, diced (remove seeds and membrane)
1⁄2 cup orange juice
1⁄2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons salt
8 cloves garlic, peeled
juice of 5 lemons
1 tablespoon tequila

Blend whole spices in a spice blender first.
posted by domo at 2:11 PM on January 11 [10 favorites]


Then I am going to can that marinara (traditional water bath method) and eat my fucking delicious homemade marinara all year long

You can also dump it in gallon ziplocs and freeze it. I will be having Roman Gnocchi this weekend served with tomato sauce I made from my own tomatoes last August.
posted by soren_lorensen at 2:13 PM on January 11 [4 favorites]


I join the people who think it's sad—and harmful, in several different ways—how many Americans can't "cook"

I can cook. But if I couldn't? I don't make my own clothes (with the exception of some knitted items), I don't personally fuel, create, and run the mechanism that heats my home, and I don't grow my own food, either.

There's nothing inherently virtuous or healthful about the act of cooking. It's unfortunate if a grown, healthy person lacks the skills to tend to their own needs, but there are many ways to get fed besides cooking.
posted by praemunire at 2:14 PM on January 11 [14 favorites]


I can cook. But if I couldn't? I don't make my own clothes (with the exception of some knitted items), I don't personally fuel, create, and run the mechanism that heats my home, and I don't grow my own food, either.

True. But, it's hard to ensure that Small Humans For Whom I Am Responsible eat well and are exposed to a wide variety of nutritious, tasty food, without cooking. And even more cruelly -- this kind of cooking (whip up something delicious and nutritious in 30 minutes or less) actually requires MORE skill and executive functioning than if you had all day to faff around in the kitchen with five volumes of Modernist Cooking.
posted by schwinggg! at 2:22 PM on January 11


Others have posted lots of recipes and cooking tips, but I also want to note that you do not have to baby the inner pot at all. It’s plain old stainless steel. You can use metal tools, blend or shred things right in the pot, shove it in the dishwasher. No nonstick coating to scratch. If stuff does happen to get stuck on it worse than the dishwasher can handle, I scrub it with steel wool, and said stuff comes immediately off.

Like I get that it is A Trendy Gadget that people Will Not Shut Up About, but it is legit super useful.
posted by snowmentality at 2:29 PM on January 11 [11 favorites]


loquacious, I'm having the most delicious time imagining all the different possibilities of who you are talking about. I'm assuming it was here in PT?
posted by humboldt32 at 2:41 PM on January 11


One reason why the instant won't solve America problems:

The Instant Pot is Canadian.

So the most you should expect is that it will contribute to you winning the Stanley Cup.
posted by srboisvert at 2:56 PM on January 11 [5 favorites]


That’s a really dirty trick you played, there, not mentioning what spices.

Ha.

My cooking is kinda all over the place and tends to be sorta fusion-y, influenced in no particular order by Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Tex/Mex, Thai, French, traditional "American" stuff, etc, and I often go overboard on the more "umami" side. So, it depends on what I have around, but it usually involves some combination of: minced garlic, minced ginger, ground chipotle, soy sauce, fish sauce, doenjang (fermented soybean paste), sambal oelek (chili paste), chinese cooking wine (shaoxing), cumin, black pepper, salt. Sometimes cinnamon ends up in there? Maybe garam masala for no real reason? I dunno. I wing it a lot.
posted by tocts at 3:16 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]


I didn’t see this posted yet, but I can highly recommend the cookbook How to Instant Pot, by MeFi’s own veggieboy. Every recipe I’ve made has come out well.
posted by skycrashesdown at 3:47 PM on January 11 [2 favorites]


Hmm. Can't say that the first recipe I looked at the pressurecookrecipes.com site linked above and I have to say the first recipe I looked at seemed to be kind of missing the point of an IP at least for me. A mac 'n' cheese recipe that requires you use your oven, stovetop, a baking sheet, skillet and mixing bowl in addition to the IP, and in fact only pressure cooks the pasta, really doesn't seem like any kind of time or effort saving. Elbow macaroni only takes 10-12 minutes to cook in a regular pasta pot, so 10 minutes of pressurizing plus 4 minutes of cooking doesn't really seem a win even for the pasta.

Anyone got a mac 'n' cheese much more in the spirit of minimalism?
posted by tavella at 3:50 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Or generally a site that focuses more on things you can cook in one stage, or one stage plus maybe a bit of sauteeing in the IP or the like. I am a big fan of the dump and cook type recipes for weekday use.
posted by tavella at 3:56 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


The Instapot was at first a novelty which conferred significant benefits of time saved on its early adopters, it's now in a stage of achieving wide acceptance, and will soon become a defensive necessity as employers learn that they can soak up that extra time the Instapot offers and potential employees who don't have one fall behind their peers in a competitive labor market.
posted by jamjam at 4:25 PM on January 11 [3 favorites]


potential employees who don't have one fall behind their peers in a competitive labor market.

It's the invisible hand of the market meeting the visible hand of Hamburger Helper
posted by GuyZero at 4:29 PM on January 11 [11 favorites]


Where does the Hamburger Helper's skeleton fit into this?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:35 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


tavella: Here is a mac and cheese recipe that only uses the IP. It's a gluten free version (which sounds better than the vegan version also on the site), but perhaps you could substitute real pasta. More than that, every IP recipe on that site seems to assume that the only pot you have is an IP, so they don't ever ask you to put anything in the oven or on the stove. (yeah, that's the site I linked to beforehand, that has a ton of Indian recipes).
posted by el io at 4:37 PM on January 11


Where does the Hamburger Helper's skeleton fit into this?

I'm sure it makes a hearty stock.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:46 PM on January 11 [7 favorites]


Can someone help explain why I make a roast and it comes out kind of dry and stringy? Like a 2.5-3lb hunk of beef rump. I've tried 1cup brother, 4 cups broth, etc. 35 mins and natural release is... not long enough...? too long? Frown. I NEED THE ANSWER.

Meanwhile if I cut it up, it's very tender. So maybe this is a not long enough thing.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 6:01 PM on January 11


I have two stovetop pressure cookers, and I love them to the point where it's a joke in my family. And I have no problem putting food on the table in 25 minutes any day using my wok. So I'm not in the market for the IP. But I can so much see how I would have loved it when I lived in a tiny apartment and had a tiny kitchen with just two gas burners and a toaster oven. So good for everyone.
But I came here to suggest an idea for all those of you who tell about struggling with the tired kids after a long day of work. When my kids were small, I'd pick them up from daycare/school, and we would go home. I'd sit them at the kitchen table with paper, crayons, and a bowl of carrots, cucumbers and some yogurt for dipping and something to drink. They would sit there while I prepped and cooked, sometimes one of them would help with the prepping, with a board and a knife at her place instead of the paper and crayons. Same every day. All very peaceful and easy. I'm saying this because the other day, my now 20-year-old said: do you remember back when we came home and we sat at the table and had snacks before dinner? Because I loved that. Every day. Sometimes small pleasures and repetition are what kids need the most.
posted by mumimor at 7:03 PM on January 11 [14 favorites]


Or when we have rotisserie chicken left over

Oh, yeah! I keep the bones and scraps leftover when I buy a rotisserie chicken in a gallon ziplock in my freezer. When the bag is full, I dump it in my multi-cooker with some carrots, onion, celery, garlic and salt to make stock. Always turns out great, even if the chicken parts are a little freezer burned.

Then I portion the stock, two cups at a time, into quart freezer bags and I have it on hand for other recipes.

It’s the circle of life, or something!
posted by Big Al 8000 at 8:05 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


The Instapot was at first a novelty which conferred significant benefits of time saved on its early adopters, it's now in a stage of achieving wide acceptance, and will soon become a defensive necessity as employers learn that they can soak up that extra time the Instapot offers and potential employees who don't have one fall behind their peers in a competitive labor market.

Which is the thesis of the article whose point is that Instant Pot is a metonymy for domestic automation.
posted by polymodus at 9:13 PM on January 11


OnTheLastCastle: without seeing the recipe you're using it's a little hard to say. However, I have some Thoughts.

One: The quality of the beef you're buying. Ideally you should use some meat with a little bit of fat - preferably marbled through it, but a small cap will help too. If it's too lean, it may read as dry if you're cooking it past medium. The Instant Pot (or equivalent machine) is ideal when you use the toughest, cheapest, nastiest beef you can find. 30 minutes should reduce beef shin, osso bucco etc to succulent chunks that can be cut with a spoon, but there's a lot of fat and gelatin in those cuts and this gives that wonderful mouth feel. A big chunk of meat will need more time. You can add a tablespoon of powdered unflavoured gelatin to your stock (after cooking has finished) to improve its texture and give that wonderful "stick to your lips" feeling.

Two: You're not letting the meat sit long enough after cooking before slicing it. You've cooked it under pressure and, if it's in a big chunk, it'll take a while for pressure to normalise right through the meat. I've cut meat out of a pressure cooker and it fizzled juice at me. Start a little earlier and factor in some "resting" time for it on the keep warm function. Resting times vary depending on the size of the meat chunk, so perhaps start with at least 10 minutes and go from there?

Three: You're just using a bad recipe. Ideally it should have some salt in it but not too much. Yes, salt will leech some juices out of the meat, but it will also (praise osmosis) leech back a little and bring flavour with it. Also, fat is flavour and fat really changes the way your mouth and tastebuds perceive food (see above), so perhaps brown your meat in some olive oil or butter and ensure that it all goes into the pot.

The above is just the opinion of some internet stranger, so perhaps some experimentation is called for?
posted by ninazer0 at 11:38 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


FWIW, I have the Breville Fast Slo Pro because the Instant Pot is not available in Australia, but it's wonderful and I love it.
posted by ninazer0 at 11:40 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]


Can report that the chicken paprikash I made in my Instant Pot last night was easy enough, even if it wasn't the most authentic. I found the recipe simply by Googling "chicken paprikash instant pot" and it wa the first recipe that came up.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:03 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]


ironically this thread has sold me on buying an Instant Pot
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 12:52 AM on January 12 [10 favorites]


I found the recipe simply by Googling "chicken paprikash instant pot" and it wa the first recipe that came up.

That's how I've found every recipe for the Instant Pot that I've cooked.
posted by octothorpe at 6:32 AM on January 12 [2 favorites]


ironically this thread has sold me on buying an Instant Pot

Pepsi Stew?
posted by Celsius1414 at 6:34 AM on January 12 [11 favorites]


This thread may have sold me on getting an Instant Pot as well. We do have a canning pressure cooker, but I’m terrified I’m going to mess something up and the gasket will explode directly into my eyeball.

On the general topic of “low effort ways to make delicious slow cooked food,” I want to put in a plug here for one of the newer-model (and cheaper) Sous vide cookers. We have the Anova. I make a lot of curries and braised dishes, and the Anova works great for that. I’ll usually dump them out in my cast iron and use high heat for a few minutes to finish them, but I don’t think you’d actually have to for many curries.

While it’s not a time-saver like the Instant Pot, it’s utterly incapable of burning your house down, and you can run the sucker for as long as three days without having to do anything more than top up the water a couple times a day when you walk by the kitchen. Both my parents and I assumed it would be something we’d only use occasionally, but we actually break it out once a week on average. It makes even chicken breasts, which I usually despise, something a human being might want to eat.

My mother hates heating the house up with a stove and uses hers all the time when my dad is on business trips to make small portions of chicken or fish. Caveat here that we’re a DINK household and both myself and my partner love to cook for fun - but I think they’re a particularly good option for single people or couples.
posted by faineg at 7:06 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]


We just got one last month and I have used it to cook every dinner since. I like that it's a one-pot solution so it creates fewer dishes. Also you can cook meat from frozen without defrosting so way less food goes bad now. Except for some watery dishes in the first week, before I discovered the saute feature, everything has been in an acceptable window of tastiness. And nothing has been burned or undercooked. It hasn't really changed my cooking that much, but it has reduced the margin of error, and already I find I'm becoming more adventurous because of that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:08 AM on January 12 [1 favorite]


When I lived in a place without a stove, an Instant Pot would have been a godsend. I’m pretty sure that I can cook nearly anything on a hot plate (coffeepot, in a pinch), Instant Pot, and toaster oven with a bake/roast setting. If there were a version that could pressure can too, I would pay pretty much any amount of money.
posted by blnkfrnk at 9:22 AM on January 12


The Instapot Max will do pressure canning according to the linked and not entirely favorable review -- but as someone who has problems with Instapot basic design features and would never use one, I thought that was an exceptionally nit-picky review. Yet even the review does say that the Max is very good at canning.
posted by jamjam at 11:17 AM on January 12


OK, thinking I need to get one of these.... If I get the one with flowers on it am I not an Instant-Pot-Bro despite being male?
posted by thefool at 11:21 AM on January 12


I don't have an Instant Pot because I'm still determined to make the slow cooker I bought several years ago work for me (though honestly, either option seemed a lot more enticing before I realized that my IBS makes eating any kind of bean/legume an extremely unwise prospect), but my awareness of it was driven by all of my white, middle-class, 40ish friends--almost all women--who are working parents and/or really into yoga/"clean eating." I kind of hate the name, but many of them all seem to absolutely love the recipes found at Clean Food Dirty Girl. Not bro-y at all, though I can ssee how there'd be that subset, too.

But I also always feel compelled to push back against the inevitable smugness of "but it's so incoceivably tragic that people don't cook!" that always surfaces in threads like this. I rarely see anyone fetishizing, like, scrubbing clothes on a washboard rather than using a laundry machine, or boiling water over an open flame rather than just using an electric kettle. Many people find cooking incredibly tedious and would rather not be stuck being attentive in the kitchen for any length of time. Many people, if fortunate, have always had the option of getting a maid/cook to do the tedious life work for them. Yay for the technology that frees your attention for those who either can't afford or choose not to directly employ the labor of others in this fashion.
posted by TwoStride at 11:40 AM on January 12 [6 favorites]


Isn't the big difference between cooking and cleaning that cooking leads to meals, and thus to enjoyment and conviviality? I mean, I do love a clean shirt, but it's nowhere near sharing a roast chicken with people you love when it comes to feelings of happiness and satisfaction.
For me, it's fine if that chicken is from the rotisserie. But I can see how preparing and sharing food is something more than the other traditional household chores.
posted by mumimor at 11:49 AM on January 12


I want to put in a plug here for one of the newer-model (and cheaper) Sous vide cookers.

We bought an Instant Port and an Anova sous vide cooker in late 2017 and use them both regularly, though in no way did they replace traditional stove/oven cooking for us. My wife especially likes the Instant Pot to make things she can take for her lunches, but we've added probably five or six IP recipes to our standard repertoire of meal choices. I cooked a dinner party for 12 people last winter using the sous vide cooker to make some amazing 3-day short ribs, and used it for this past Thanksgiving to make our turkey breast for dinner. I'm planning another dinner party now that will probably make use of both devices.
posted by briank at 12:42 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Many people, if fortunate, have always had the option of getting a maid/cook to do the tedious life work for them.

Or a wife.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 1:05 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]


So I have the beginnings of a cold today. I'd already picked up a package of chicken feet to amp up the tonkatsu broth I was already planning to make - but neglected to read the tonkatsu recipe closely and saw that I'd have to soak the meat in water for 12 hours. Shoot.

That left me with the sniffles, and a whole package of chicken feet, of which I was only going to use two anyway. So I searched a bit, found this - and am now going to mother myself with some incredibly rich chicken broth after only 90 minutes of cooking time. And all it took to prep was: rinse off the feet, throw them in the pot, close the lid and press "90 minutes". (Okay, I also added a clove of garlic and a smidge of a knob of ginger.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:13 PM on January 12 [7 favorites]


My Instant Pot, including heat up and cool down times, isn't usually faster than a stovetop. But it needs no attention, and it's consistent. I rarely cooked dried beans because I didn't like having to monitor and stir the pot.

Beans

I've had much better results with 8 hour soaked and rinsed dried beans. I tried no-soak IP recipes, but the texture wasn't as good.

Garbanzos are just so much better than canned. And no-salt, too.
Black eye peas are surprisingly better, with good texture and lots of flavor.
(This timing works for most other larger beans, but some take a few more minutes. I've resealed the pot and did 2 more minutes if they weren't quite soft.) I regularly make 15 bean soup mixes in the IP, with plain beans, then do the veggies and tomatoes on the stovetop and add the cooked beans as the last step.

Soak 8 hours or overnight, rinse.
enough water to cover and about 3/4 inch more if I'm using the liquid, or more than an inch over the beans if I'm throwing out the liquid.
18 minutes pressure, 15-25 minutes cooldown, it doesn't seem to be critical. Or 20-24 minutes pressure for hummus or other mashing purposes.

Easy cleanup steel cut oats for one

This takes 40 minutes, so I don't do it too often. But it's really good.
A cup of water in the bottom, with a pyrex serving bowl on the rack.
In the bowl:
1/3 cup non-quick cook steel cut oats
3/4 cup milk
raisins.
15 minutes pressure, 15 minutes cooldown. Eat out of the bowl!

Chicken breasts with bone in
I do two at a time, on the rack, cup of water in the bottom.
8 minutes pressure, 10-20 minutes cooldown.
posted by jjj606 at 2:47 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]


Ironically I am a person who likes the whole experience of cooking, and I think a lot about tradition, and I always skip the technophile stuff, and this thread has 100% sold me on an Instant Pot

Tools are tools.

I've always been both intimidated and enticed by Indian cooking; making it easy enough that I can experiment with it would be great.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 6:16 PM on January 12


TwoStride "...feel compelled to push back against the inevitable smugness..."

I feel ya, but I think disconnect is that some people feel that cooking is as much an "art" as a necessary life function.

Tending all of the (sometimes disparate) chemical reactions going on with your food is a bit different than mechanically cleaning clothing where doing it by hand vs. having a machine do it ends up with results where the mechanical assist does a better job.
posted by porpoise at 7:53 PM on January 12


Still prefer a pressure cooker - especially if you have a mother who is a retired biochemist - so you can use it to distill the fermented fruit juice into fruit brandy.

Double distilled if there is a lot of fruit juice.
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 8:39 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


the ability to sterilize baby bottles and pump parts in it is priceless, if you happen to need to do that

I'm feeling so triggered right now. It's been years, and I still remember the sterilisation dance with the racks of bottles and the solution and the rings and the steriliser. The awful, awful, steriliser.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:51 PM on January 12


https://angry-chef.com/blog/the-truth-about-fat

But perhaps the real problem is not that people have forgotten how to cook. People are almost universally brighter, more talented and more resourceful than they are given credit for. They know eating vegetables is good for them. Cooking for yourself really isn’t that hard. Maybe it’s just that they have been ground down for so long, that cooking no longer makes sense.


I’m truly sorry that the problems of obesity and health inequalities are not simple enough to solve in one cookery class or one blog post. ... But if you want to help people lead a better life, where they are happier and healthier, then the first thing we need to do is fight for a fairer world.
posted by Barbara Spitzer at 8:59 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


thoroughburro - it really is a lot of Instant Pot users.

I think it’s true that most people get Instant Pot brand electric pressure cookers, but my default assumption for most products is that there’s the “pretty good” version that popularizes it and the “as good, perhaps better” version that flies under the radar. We wound up buying a Mealthy Multipot which we’re very happy with, but to find recipes we Google Instant Pot and we pretty much always call it the Instant Pot because metonymy has worked its magic. I call my off brand tissues Kleenex and my off brand zippered baggies Zip-locs, too.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:29 AM on January 13


It's snowy, rainy and cold today, so I'm planning to whip up this recommended bolognese recipe in our new Instant Pot. Any tips? Never thought I'd be putting gelatin or fish sauce into bolognese. 14 oz of crushed tomatoes seems like it wouldn't be enough for all the meats involved. Should I use this whole 28-oz. can like one commenter suggested?
posted by emelenjr at 6:31 AM on January 13


Another question for the Instant Pot owners:

I'm not really interested in one-pot meals. I just want tender, flavorful beans in 20 minutes instead of seven hours.

For this purpose (cooking dry beans), does the Instant Pot provide any advantage over this traditional, stovetop pressure cooker? It's dishwasher-safe, and costs $25. The manual says that it can cook beans in two to seven minutes (after coming up to pressure), depending on the variety.

(Granted, the Instant Pot has a built-in timer, and it doesn't take up space on the stove. But, other than that – does it provide any advantage over the traditional version?)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:43 AM on January 13


(I'd somehow gotten the notion that traditional pressure cookers were all huge, unwieldy things. Probably because that's the kind my mother uses, for canning stuff from her garden. I didn't realize there were normal-saucepan-sized versions.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:44 AM on January 13


Do you have to keep checking the stovetop kind to make sure that it's at the right level of pressure? I've heard that that might be the case. With the Instant Pot you don't have to do that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:53 AM on January 13


Yeah – for that Presto, there's a little "pressure regulator", which rocks gently back and forth on top of a stem. You have to make sure that doesn't start rocking too violently.

I don't mind keeping half an eye on that sort of thing – I'll be in the kitchen working on other things anyway.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:57 AM on January 13


I had a modern stovetop pressure cooker for years (fancier than the one escape from the potato planet linked to, with an integrated valve, purportedly safer and more user friendly), and you do have to do some babysitting. Turn the heat down after it comes to pressure, and make sure that you've turned it down enough but not too far, then set a timer and turn the heat off at the right time. It's not, like, hard, but it is something you have to think about and remember to tend to.
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:01 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


Tangentally, here's a 1949 film from the "Pressure Cooking Institute", which looks pretty retro-delightful.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:02 AM on January 13 [4 favorites]


Another advantage of the IP is that it doesn't heat up your entire kitchen while you're using it. And, yeah, when I'm making beef broth or my partner is making chicken broth, that's four hours under pressure, so I'm not going to do that with a traditional pressure cooker that needs to be babysat. We did have a ginormous aluminum PC for canning in the last place but it was obnoxious to monitor and clean and heated up the entire kitchen in use. So we don't miss that aspect. I am sure we use the IP at least every other day and sometimes multiple times a day, whereas the old canner was maybe one day a year.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:06 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]



It's snowy, rainy and cold today, so I'm planning to whip up this recommended bolognese recipe in our new Instant Pot. Any tips? Never thought I'd be putting gelatin or fish sauce into bolognese. 14 oz of crushed tomatoes seems like it wouldn't be enough for all the meats involved. Should I use this whole 28-oz. can like one commenter suggested?
posted by emelenjr at 6:31 AM on January 13 [+]

I have tried that recipe and it is excellent. Don't change anything. Usually I follow a simpler one by Daniel Gritzer that is not adapted for pressure cooker, but both have less tomato than we are used to (outside of Italy) and my personal tasting panel think this is one of the great things about both those recipes. Mixing different meats is another. The panel don't agree on the chicken liver. ;)
posted by mumimor at 8:08 AM on January 13


mmm. Now I want Bolognese. I have only used Marcella Hazan's recipe, but maybe I should try the Serious Eats pressure cooker version. But I hate liver. But maybe it just blends in and isn't too ... liver-y? My husband would probably be giddy, since he does like liver, and he only gets it in restaurants. :P
posted by taz at 12:12 PM on January 13


TIL I need to get an Instant Pot. Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:51 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


I've only made the non-pressure cooker version of Serious Eats bolognese and you'd never know there was liver in it.
posted by mmascolino at 3:03 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


I love cooking. I find it soothing, and I'm pretty good at it. But I have a full-time job that keeps me hopping til 8PM, so when the 8qt. IP was half off in Black Friday, I nabbed one.

I absolutely love it. I can run downstairs on my lunch break, prep my protein and potatoes, push some buttons, and walk away. When Elder Monster gets home from work, we talk about what's in the IP, he chooses an appropriate veg and cooks it the way he thinks will be best (appropriately timed). I come down at 8:01PM, all that's left to do is pull out the meat, mash the potatoes, and sometimes make gravy. Dinner at 8:15, boom.

I do all of my "fussy" cooking on the weekend now, and it's more pleasurable because there's no need to rush.
posted by MissySedai at 8:21 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Everyone who is complaining about the time it takes to heat up: one way to lower that time is to make sure your ingredients are already hot when you shut the lid. Use hot water and not cold. If you are not sauteing anything, put the liquid in first and set it to saute at high while you prep and add everything else.

My most common recipe is pulled pork for two. This is a cheap, low-effort but not low time recipe. We buy a 5-6 pound pork shoulder, cut into 1 pound sizes and freeze them (food saver, shoutout). Thaw overnight in the fridge, brown in the pot, add broth and spices then manual cook for 60 minutes. Open and set to saute so the broth reduces while stirring and the pork falls apart with no effort. Add sauce to taste and cook for another minute or two. I did pulled chicken thighs on Christmas using the same concept but different flavors.

The family favorite is sesame chicken but it needs rice. I did a 3 pound turkey roast on Thanksgiving and again on Christmas Eve and it was great to set it and not have to babysit.
posted by soelo at 11:26 AM on January 14 [3 favorites]


This post and thread has certainly convinced me to get an Insta Pot on my next opportunity.

The only dislike I have so far? Abbreviation; initialism: IP.
posted by filtergik at 5:23 AM on January 15


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